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Wuhan lockdown stopped spread of covid-19, but not in Zim - can't compare chalk and cheese

28 Mar 2020 at 19:26hrs | Views
In an effort to stop the spread of corona virus, Mnangagwa has ordered a nation-wide 21-day lockdown starting Monday 30 March. SA is already in the middle of a 21-day nation-wide lockdown and many other countries have adopted similar measures. China imposed a lockdown in Wuhan, a city of 10 million people, and, as we know, successfully stopped the spread of the virus. There is no chance of Zimbabwe's lockdown repeating China's success, comparing chalk and cheese, and here is why:

1) The Chinese identified Wuhan as the epicentre of the corona virus outbreak, the lockdown was to stop infected people travelling out and spreading the virus and those within the city spreading it to others. Zimbabwe does not have even 10 corona virus cases and it is over the top to lockdown a whole nation of 16 million just because 10 individuals are infected. It would have made more sense to trace all the people the infected have been in contact with and place them into quarantine.

2) If we assume there are a hell lot more people infected with corona virus that the 10 or so then officials must get their act and identify the infected and treat them. The Chinese built massive additional hospitals in Wuhan and had them staffed and equipped to cater of influx of corona virus victims. Other than getting the Army and Police to enforce the lockdown, the regime is doing nothing else!

3) If the plan is to abandon all those with the virus infection to either recover or die; which, either than paying lip service to stopping the infection, is certainly the reality on the ground; then we must expect the number of infected to increase. Even if the number infection slowed down during the lockdown, we can expect the numbers to increase again as soon as the lockdown is over.

4) Of course, this Zanu PF government is paying lip service to stopping the spread of corona virus. The country does not know the spread of the virus because the regime is not testing. The regime has done little to ensure there is clean running water in hospitals much less equip and staff the hospitals to treat those with corona virus.

5) The 21-day shutdown is itself just a gimmick, in a country in which unemployment is a nauseating 90%; there was not much to shutdown. Zimbabwe has become a nation of vendors and they will be back on the streets in full force even if the corona virus figures are increasing because with no other source of income the people would rather risk catching the virus than starve to death. People need to eat, corona virus shutdown or not. The British government, for example, is paying up to 80% of the wage of laid-off workers or else claim the welfare benefits. Zimbabweans have no such safety net and ill afford to the 21-day shutdown extended even by one more day!

The lockdown will, at best, slow down the spread of the virus but will not stamp it out; other concrete measures must be implemented to achieve that. And without stamping it out the virus will flare up again as soon as the lockdown is lifted. The lockdown cannot be sustained indefinitely. Zimbabwe has imposed the lockdown, autocratic and ease bit; but it failed to guarantee the resources to help those infected to recover and to eliminate the virus, the intellectually challenging bit.

So Zimbabweans will endure the economic and social hardships of the Wuhan style lockdown but only to see the corona virus infection increase continue to increase regardless!

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