Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Security forces and health officials will be on high alert to ensure full compliance with Covid-19 regulations and curtail crowding of people at supermarkets and water points among other areas, Acting President Kembo Mohadi said yesterday.
Speaking at a Press conference as Zimbabwe switches from a Level Two lockdown back to Level Four for 30 days, the Acting President warned those behind the recent spate of fake Covid-19 certificates, that special efforts were being made to hunt them down.
“Our security agencies, health officials and educational institutional heads will continue to enforce stricter standard operation procedures to ensure the safety of all citizens. They will enforce adherence to the regulations within the stipulated times,” he said.
“We exhort governance structures to provide and enforce measures that will curtail crowds and congestion at places such as water points, bus terminuses, grinding mills, supermarkets and shopping complex,” said Acting President Mohadi.
“Further we enjoin business enterprises to be more vigilant in reducing crowds at all points in line with social distancing protocols.”
Under the level four regulations, queuing at bus stops, supermarkets and water points is still permitted, but the queues have to be orderly to allow social distancing to be enforced. In recent months there has been a tendency to have people crowding closely and this will now be stopped.
The temporary reversion back to level four, leaves farming, mining and manufacturing operating as before, under Covid-19 rules, and allows essential services, including supermarkets, food shops and food markets, fuel stations and pharmacies to stay open between 8am and 3pm. But most of the rest of the commercial and informal sectors must be closed from tomorrow. In addition the permissions for church services with a congregation, gatherings for public hearings and gatherings for low-risk sports have been suspended for the 30 days and most other gatherings are limited to two people, effectively banning weddings among others.
Non-essential intercity travel is once again banned, as is cross-border passenger traffic by land although with the previous exceptions of returning residents and embassy staff.
The ban of passenger traffic across land borders is partly a result of a rife forgery industry producing fake Covid-19-free certificates, thus negating the efforts to allow this to be done safely.
“The presentation of unauthentic Covid-19 free certificates by some of our citizens has exposed many unassuming people to the disease. Such dishonesty is criminal and detrimental to the very fabric of society and far removed from Unhu/Ubuntu. This has led to the surge of infections,” said Acting President Mohadi.
Zimbabwe had recorded 1 342 Covid-19 cases and 29 deaths within a week and on January 2 2021, the pandemic accounted for 407 new cases and eight deaths all of which were local infections.
“We appeal to you all fellow Zimbabweans that while scientists all over the world are working on a vaccine, it remains imperative that you and I adhere to the measures as stipulated. The complex nature of the virus, its mutation, remains worrisome for all of us hence the mandatory compliance to the measures we are putting in place as Government,” he said.
The Acting President asked community leaders to show leadership in disseminating information in their various constituencies.
“Whilst the generality of our people are disciplined, we appeal to you religious organisations, traditional leadership, business and corporates, civil leadership, households and individuals to take the fight against the Covid-19 scourge as our own. We urge you once again to vigorously engage the participation of your membership to inculcate appropriate behaviour change and the adherence to acceptable protocols,” he said.
Acting President Mohadi said emphasis on Covid-19 had always been on prevention.
“We are our own saviours and it is our behavioural change that will take us out of danger. It is important that there be a major paradigm shift on behaviour. Let those that are infected now be the last as we all together strive that no one else shall be infected,” said Acting President Mohadi.
He said Government will not allow people’s laxity on the pandemic break its resolve to achieve our national goals. The health and safety of the nation will ensure a productive and fruitful economy,” he said.
Announcing the temporary return to tighter measures, Minister of Health and Child Care Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said the curfew had been extended back to 6pm to 6am.
While a maximum of 30 people can attend a funeral, temporaily suspended permissions and the return to no gathering exceedng two people apart from a handful of exemptions, such as a bus queue or a funeral, meant all other gatherings at weddings, church services, bars, bottle stores, gymnasiums and restaurants were banned for the 30 days.