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LOCKDOWN: Zimbabwe heeds call to stay at home

by Staff reporter
30 Mar 2020 at 18:47hrs | Views
Zimbabweans have largely observed Government's call to stay at home and limit movement as a measure to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The usually busy and noisy Bulawayo-Harare Road section that passes through the Bulawayo CBD is conspicuous by its silence and lack of activity.

The usual sound of pirating Harare buses and touts sounding horns to lure customers is absent. It's very quiet and only a handful of cars have moved on the road since 6AM.

Only a few people are queuing at major retail shops in the central business district to buy essentials goods.

Most shops selling nonessential goods are closed.

The lockdown is however affected by water cuts as the Bulawayo City Council has been struggling to restore supplies in some of the suburbs since Saturday, March 21.

Pumula South has not received tap water since council embarked on a citywide water shutdown while council has not delivered a water bowser.

Residents are forced to fetch water from boreholes, resulting in some of them not observing social distancing.

A few people who defied the order and some who had found their way into the city centre to buy basic commodities were peacefully Shepherded back home by the police.

Gweru residents are complying with the Government directive to exercise extreme caution by isolating themselves and staying at home.

In Mkoba suburbs all shops are closed except for Choppies which was open from 7am-11am.

Shops which were found open were asked to close by the police.

Midlands Minister of State Larry Mavhima implored people to continue complying with the directive for their safety and that of their families.

Business operators in Victoria Falls are on lockdown.

The central business district resembles a ghost town with no shops open and only occasional human movement. Big supermarkets are open but there are no queues. Total and Puma fuel services stations have long winding queues as motorists wait for fuel which has not been delivered.

While the Victoria Falls border post remains open for cargo, the Rainforest and curio markets are closed. The situation is a bit different in the high-density suburbs where people are going ahead with their normal activities.

All businesses including tuckshops are open and children are playing on the streets.

Some pirate taxis were operating since morning but police are also on the ground checking on vehicles and ordering those carrying more than two people to make a u-turn.

Vegetable markets remain open and vendors say they will not close because they are maintaining the one-metre apart social distancing rule.

In Hwange, big supermarkets are open while public transport has stopped operating.

Most travellers and residents of Beitbridge have started complying with the national response plan to minimise the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

When our news crew visited the usually busy business centres and markets, most traders had scaled down operations while others closed shop yesterday. At Mashavire, Mashakada, Engen, Ha Mbedzi and Ha Mangavha there were no people at the market stalls, bars were closed and only grocery shops were open with few clients. Further, the police are on patrol in the border town.

At Dulivhadzimu bus terminus, business was literally dead after many people traveled to their rural homes between Friday and Sunday.

There was also limited movement of people through the border except for cargo traffic and customs clearing agents who are facilitating regional and international trade.

The Assistant Regional Immigration Officer in charge of Beitbridge (Zimbabwe), Mr Nqobile Ncube said they was limited traffic and that very few people had tried to cross into either country.

"We are working together with other security agents and our security guards who are strategically positioned to screen traffic and enforce compliance," he said.

"There is not much traffic that is coming through. You will note that on Sunday we cleared a total of 351 truck drivers on the arrival section and 234 on exits.

"It is pleasing to note that word has got to everyone and people are observing a high level of compliance with the ongoing measures to contain this condition."

Source - chronicle