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What 21 days of Lockdown will likely Mean for the Zimbabwean Populace

29 Mar 2020 at 23:21hrs | Views
To curb the spread of the coronavirus President Emmerson Mnangagwa imposed a 21 days lockdown of Zimbabwe which is to come into effect on Monday 30, March.

The measure has been applauded by many humanitarian organisations, and analysts say that the lockdown will not only bleed the already deteriorated economy, but it will also negatively impact the vast populace of Zimbabweans.

Trading Economics, March 2020 figures show that the annual inflation rate in Zimbabwe for February 2020 was at 540.2 percent and unemployment rates were still skyrocketing.

Weak exchange rates, food shortages caused by drought and ever booming inflation levels has seen the monthly basis, consumer prices inch up by 13.52 percent which is yet another increase from the previous 2.23 percent in the previous month of February.

Most Zimbabweans are self-employed, and a lockdown would not only be detrimental to their livelihood, but it will also put more strain on these already suffering citizens.

More than 90 percent of the Zimbabwean population are unemployed and they either run their own small ventures as vendors or work in the informal sector which is set to be impacted by the lock down.

Figures from the Trading Economics, March 2020 report are cause for concern, and the Mnagagwa led government should do more than just a lockdown.

"Zimbabweans working in the informal sector can barely make enough to sustain themselves as it stands, and a lockdown would only worsen the situation, the government should help the people in these desperate times," said Sandra Bvungidzire a Zimbabwean based in the United States.

A lockdown is a noble gesture, but the government should develop schemes like what other heads of states are doing to cushion the impacts of covid-19.

The United States government is offering its citizens meal programs which the people can enrol into remotely, and the United Kingdom government has introduced schemes which are meant to cover 80% of the self-employed earnings for three months.

These are some of the measures which government authorities are putting in place in response to the coronavirus crisis and this is indication of the level of care that they have for the citizenry.

In Zimbabwe there has already been an outcry over the opening of a private facility in Harare which is meant to service the political elites in the country.

President Mnangagwa said all non-essential services would cease operations for the next 21 days starting on Monday; with most, if not all the self-employed vendors and traders being categorised as non-essential.

This will leave most Zimbabweans stranded at home with no income and the ZANU PF government has not given a clear position on what will happen to these informal traders, analysts say.

A lockdown will mean no income for the populace and this hampers their hopes of getting any treatment if they are ever to go to the already depleted hospitals in the country.

Doctors and nurses previously downed their tools on Wednesday after the government failed to provide protective equipment for the man and women who are on the frontline dealing with covid-19.

The battle between government and healthcare practitioners in Zimbabwe has been an ongoing thing, but the government needs to do more especially during such a period.

Critics have blamed the ZANU PF government for the decline in the health sector in Zimbabwe, pointing out to the fact that they go and seek treatment outside the country at the expense of the public.

In last week's strike, Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, president, Tawanda Zvakada, said that doctors would return to the frontlines to battle covid-19 only if adequate protection was provided.

Zvakada alluded to the fact that the doctors needed gloves, masks and gowns in order for them to resume helping the people.

In the event of an outbreak, Zimbabweans will be in limbo as they will have nowhere to seek treatment.

The ZANU PF led administration has for decades been blamed for failing to address the key issues in the countries health sector.

The current state of Wilkins Hospital which the government set aside as the dedicated covid-19 response centre is critical and is symptomatic of the broader problems within the Zimbabwe healthcare sector.

Many have viewed a lockdown as a step in the right direction, but more still needs to be done to revamp the hospitals and cushion the lives of the citizens.

Movement for Democratic Change, President, Advocate, Nelson Chamisa welcomed the measure to put the country under lockdown and indicated that this was the time for the country to unite as one.

"There is only one Zimbabwe. We are one people. Politics aside, we must unite to save lives," said Chamisa on Twitter.

Chamisa who has been for so long calling for the Mnagagwa led government to act ever since the pandemic was reported in other countries.

The Zimbabwe Health Ministry has already confirmed 7 deaths as a result of covid-19 and there has been growing concerns on what the Mnagagwa's administration is doing as a contingency measure besides the lockdown.

The Civil Protection Agency reports that they are more than 10,000 deaths in Italy alone and the worldwide number of reported infections has reached more than 600,000.

More than 27,000 have died and more than 131,000 have been reported as cases of recovered individuals.

Source - Prince Njagu
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