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'Level 4 lockdown will cripple economy'

by Staff reporter
06 Jan 2021 at 07:04hrs | Views
At the weekend, Vice-President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga announced tightened lockdown measures that started yesterday aimed at controlling the spiralling cases of COVID-19.

As of January 3, the country had recorded TRADE unions have blasted government's decision to impose a 30-day stringent COVID-19 lockdown without consulting key stakeholders such as informal traders.

15 265 total confirmed cases, with 11 574 recoveries, 3 311 active cases and 380 deaths.

The measures include immediate closure of some formal and informal businesses across the country except those providing essential services, a dust-to-dawn curfew, and suspension of intercity travel, cross-border trading, among others.

In an interview with NewsDay, workers and cross-border traders' representatives said government should have consulted key economic stakeholders before imposing the travel and trading ban.

Cross Border Traders Association president Killer Zivhu said informal traders were the worst affected as they had not yet recovered from the previous lockdown regimes.

"Considering the economic challenges at this juncture where it is January and we are looking at the opening of schools soon where there is need for fees and rentals, the move was a total disaster," Zivhu said.

"At some point, it's a win-win situation. The pandemic is very dangerous, it would be a bad situation to gain business and lose lives and at the same time losing business can lead to death and poverty," said Zivhu.

He added: "What we are pleading with authorities that those with authentic COVID-19 certificates should be allowed to pass and on their way back, provide the same proof."

Zivhu said it was necessary to allow cross border traders to carry on with their operations instead of confining them to their homes without providing alternative sources of income.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary-general Japhet Moyo said as a union, they did not agree with the way government was dealing with the situation.

"What the authorities are doing is wrong, we understand that the pandemic is surging but what they are prescribing is not the solution. The people caged in their homes will die of hunger," Moyo said.

"We don't agree with that at all, people are dying because at the moment they are not able to do basic economic activities, therefore, do not have money to even purchase medication. For example, cross-border traders are going to starve."

The International Coalition Against Coronavirus for Africa Development (ICAC-AD) also warned government that level four lockdown would cripple the country's economy.

In an interview yesterday, South Africa-based ICAC-AD vice-president Chandangwinyira Chose said: "We are against any lockdowns now, but the government should enforce the wearing of masks. The people are struggling with this lockdown which is making them poorer as they fail to do their vending where they get income from."

ICAC said it was also lobbying all African government to develop home-grown remedies to COVID-19 to avoid instances where people are used as guinea pigs for drug tests.

Source - newsday