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Water cannons deployed in Bulawayo's Covid-19 fight

by Staff reporter
09 Apr 2020 at 08:15hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has partnered the police in disinfecting the city centre using Public Order Vehicles (POVs) to spray disinfectant from anti-riot water cannons to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The four-day exercise started on Tuesday. Yesterday, the local authority disinfected among other streets, Herbert Chitepo Street from Leopold Takawira Avenue to 3rd Avenue, Lobengula Street from 6th Avenue to 3rd Avenue, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street from 6th Avenue to 4th Avenue, Basch Street and George Silundika Street from 8th Avenue to 9th Avenue.

Zupco pick and drop off points in the CBD were also disinfected.

An ambulance moved around the city ordering residents to leave the city centre as the disinfectant could irritate their skins. Grey coloured anti-riot water cannons followed shortly after, sending high velocity streams of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) onto the streets and walls of buildings to kill Covid-19 virus that could be on them.

The Government supplied 750 litres of Hydrogen peroxide, a chemical compound that acts as a mild antiseptic and comes in various potencies depending on its purpose, for the exercise.

About 45 litres of the chemical is being mixed with water inside the POVs which have a water carrying capacity of 4 500 litres.

BCC divisional environmental health officer Dr Patrick Ncube said: "This programme is going to take four days in the CBD. We started on Tuesday and are ending the spraying on Friday. The chemical we are using is Hydrogen peroxide at a concentration of 0,1 percent.

"This is a highly corrosive chemical and should only be used by people who have been trained. At a domestic level, we would not advise anyone to use it."

Dr Ncube said the exercise will also be taken to residential areas citywide. He said rains that fell during the exercise in the CBD did not reduce the potency of the chemical as it instantly kills the virus.

"We believe in a one city concept thus what we do in the CBD we do it also in high-density and low-density suburbs. The programme will be done all over the city. "Our programme in the CBD will determine when we will go to the suburbs," said Dr Ncube.

Dr Ncube said the Bulawayo Market will be disinfected on Friday after vendors have removed their produce at the market stalls.

Police and soldiers directed those who needed to board the Zupco buses which use Corner of H Chitepo Street/ L Takawira Avenue and 6th Avenue as a pick up point to go as far as Engen garage at Renkini to board the buses to pave way for the disinfection.

Members of the public who defied the call to leave the town before 3pm when the exercise started were later observed fleeing the POVs.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) on Tuesday began sanitising its pick up points.

Zupco is the only public transport provider, which has been permitted to operate during the lockdown. "We are continuously sanitising pick up points in the city and will be doing so after every two or three days. On Tuesday it was our second time, after last Saturday.

"We are also planning to implement the programme in residential areas where we pick passengers, as we fight the spread of the virus," said Zupco southern region manager Mr Tinaye Rwasoka.

Commuters who spoke to Chronicle yesterday, said it was high time the public transport service provider reacted to the pandemic.

"We are pleased to see that Zupco has come forward to ensure that our safety is prioritised. They sanitised even the buildings near us and the place where we stand which is good to ensure that Covid-19 spread is minimised. "In the future, they should also ensure that every passenger is sanitised before boarding a bus," said Ms Rosewell Madzinga, a Nkulumane resident.

Source - chronicle