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Lockdown is in national interest, uphold it

30 Mar 2020 at 08:09hrs | Views
From a partial shutdown that was in force over the past few days, Government escalated its response to Covid-19 from midnight to a total national lockdown until April 19. On Friday, President Mnangagwa addressed the nation saying that the country will be on lockdown for 21 days from today.

Everyone is bound to remain in their homes over that period except people working in essential services including on-duty police and security officials, health workers, council workers in water and waste management departments and some Zesa employees.

All public transport operators were ordered to pull their vehicles off roads while Zupco will move the few people who would decide to move, only for the purposes of buying food, going to seek medical services and other critical tasks. Food markets are free to remain open, the same for supermarkets.

In all the exempt cases, people must strictly uphold social distancing, the President said. Before the Friday decision, the Government was urging citizens to limit movements, shun crowded places, not congregate in groups of more than 50, keep one at least two metres away from the next person, wash hands thoroughly with soap or hand sanitiser, cough into their bent elbows while ensuring greater respiratory hygiene.

Bars, sporting facilities and gyms were shut down a few days ago, while weddings were suspended until further notice. In addition, the Government has been urging citizens to be alert to symptoms of coronavirus infection, among them persistent coughing, sneezing, fever and dry throat.

These and more are among a package of measures to help contain the spread of coronavirus, which had sickened 680 000 people by yesterday afternoon and killed more than 31 000 worldwide. Locally, the Ministry of Health and Child Care on Friday announced that the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory had successfully tested 188 people since the outbreak of the disease in the country and had confirmed seven cases.

One person died of Covid-19 on Monday last week. In Europe where Covid-19 appears to have been most ruthless to date — Britain, Spain and Italy are among the countries that have resorted to national lockdowns. This has worked to stem the disease. A number of African countries, such as South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda and Kenya have effected total shutdowns too. These drastic measures were taken for governments and their people to be ready ahead of time, in case infection rates spike.

As we begin three weeks of little to no movement out of our homes, we appeal most sincerely to citizens to be disciplined and follow this very important Government order. National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said people must realise that the lockdown is meant to protect their health, thus they must  not violate it. Those who would be tempted to, he warned, will find police ready for them.

"We are already on implementation phase. By today (Saturday) officers were being deployed at highways, all points of entry, shopping centres and at places where people are most likely to take advantage of the situation to disregard the lockdown," Asst Comm Nyathi told the Sunday News adding, "What the public should realise is that the lockdown is meant for their safety, security and health therefore it is important that they should heed the President's directive."

In times like the one we are in, we don't expect anyone to behave in a manner that endangers their own health. In fact, we assert here and now without any reservations that the best and most effective police detail to ensure that we all comply with the conditions of the lockdown must be each and every one of us. We must police ourselves at a personal level, and not expect anyone else to do that for us because, as Ass Comm Nyathi said, the order is for the benefit of every Zimbabwean. We, as Zimbabweans, are generally a disciplined people. We love our peace. We respect the law. We have been through much economic adversity over the past 20 years or so, but we have kept our shape and discipline as a people. Therefore, we are optimistic that everyone would be at their homes over the next 21 days.

While Zimbabweans are generally a disciplined people, we are mindful of the fact that there is a risk of one or two malcontents among us who might want to go the other way. We advise such people in advance that, that is not a route to take; it is a route to their personal anguish. Bearing the foregoing in mind, police and soldiers would be out in full force over the next three weeks to ensure that everyone complies with the dictates of the lockdown as enunciated by the President on Friday. Whoever is going to disobey the order must be severely punished.

Source - chronicle
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