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High lockdown compliance on Day-One

by Staff reporter
31 Mar 2020 at 07:54hrs | Views
THE majority of Zimbabweans yesterday complied with the Government's lockdown directive as most of them stayed at home while a few visited shopping centres to buy essential goods.

President Mnangagwa declared a 21-day lockdown on Friday that became effective at midnight on Monday. To ensure compliance with the directive, police had mounted roadblocks in strategic spots across the city by 10pm on Sunday night.

Yesterday, only a few people were travelling as police vetted motorists to assess the urgency for their need to travel before letting them pass. Some motorists were ordered to turn back. Transporters withdrew their service in compliance with Government's directive and only Zupco buses serviced the public.

In the central business district of Bulawayo, the streets were empty, only a few people visited shopping areas to buy essential goods. Giant retailers such as OK Zimbabwe, TM Pick and Pay, Choppies, Greens Supermarket were all opened with a handful of clients visiting the shops.

At 3pm all shops shutdown in compliance with the Government's directive and a few people who were in the CBD started trekking back home. The 5th Avenue market place which is usually a hive of activity was deserted while fuel queues were shorter at most service stations.

The usually busy Lobengula Street was yesterday devoid of human and vehicular traffic as people heeded the call stay at home and practice social distancing. The usually abuzz flea market at Unity Village along 6th Avenue and Joshua Mqabuko Street was also quiet with few people walking about in the city centre. The vending stalls at various market areas in the city were deserted.

The area surrounding the Tredgold Building, popularly known as the World Bank as a result of being frequented by the illegal foreign currency dealers known as osiphatheleni, was also deserted.

In Makokoba and Mzilikazi suburbs, there were few people on the roads compared to normal days, and the news crew observed a number of people attending to their gardens and doing housekeeping duties. 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.     

Members of the public who spoke to the news crew said the lockdown was important although it comes with many challenges considering the state of the country's economy.

Mr Aleck Ndlovu from Nketa suburb, who had visited his ailing relative at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), said the drastic measures were necessary if the country is to avert Covid-19 disaster.

"I think this is quite commendable to try and decongest various areas in the city and country. We did not expect this. It took us by surprise but this has to be done. We have seen what this disease has done to European and Asian countries where it is killing thousands. The reality is that if we don't act it will kill us. We just have to comply with the Government's directives," said Mr Ndlovu.

In Mkoba suburbs all shops are closed except for Choppies which was open from 7am-11am. He said having a single person visiting a patient in hospital is a painful pill to swallow as it is an alien culture.

Victoria Falls complied with the call for a lockdown as the central business district resembles a ghost town with no shops open and only occasional human movement. Big supermarkets are open as people could be seen entering and leaving although there were no queues. Total and Puma fuel services stations had long winding queues as motorists waited for fuel which had not been delivered.

While the Victoria Falls border post remains open for cargo, the Rainforest and curio markets were closed. The situation is a bit different in the high-density suburbs where people were going ahead with their normal lives as they could be seen on the streets with all businesses including tuck-shops open and children playing on the streets. Some pirate taxis were operating since morning but police were also on the ground checking on vehicles and ordering those carrying more than two people to make a U-turn. Vegetable markets remained open and vendors said they will not close because they are maintaining the one-metre apart social distancing rule. Also in Hwange, big supermarkets were open while public transport stopped operating.

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.

Gweru residents complied with the Government directive to exercise extreme caution by isolating themselves and staying at home in the fight against Covid-19.

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." In Mkoba, Senga, Ascot, Mambo high density suburbs all shops were closed except for Choppies Supermarket in Mkoba 7 which was open from 7am-11am.

Source - chroncile