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Need to enforce social distancing

09 Apr, 2020 - 00:04 0 Views
Need to enforce social distancing Customers queue outside a Homelink agency in Harare yesterday. President Mnangagwa on Monday directed the RBZ to ensure money transfer services are accessible to the public. — Picture: Believe Nyakudjara

The Herald

Herald Reporters

Government should consider new national lockdown measures after it emerged that some people across the country are defying the lockdown, which reached its halfway mark yesterday.

A snap survey by The Herald yesterday showed that the situation was slowly returning to normal in most parts of the country.

The number of people arrested by the police for defying the lockdown reached 2 885 yesterday.

It was business as usual in most parts of Harare’s western suburbs including the Gazaland informal market in Highfield.

Spare parts, which were not classified under the essential services were being sold by informal traders openly at Gazaland.

Volumes of human traffic increased in the CBD and in Mbare where some vendors were not observing social distancing. It was also not clear how cars were finding their way into the CBD since the police have set a number of check points leading into the city centre.

In Gweru, people have been roaming the streets and flocking into the CBD.

Illegal money changers have also resumed operations on the streets.

People said they were getting into the CBD to buy basics after police on Tuesday ordered tuckshops and grocery shops in the suburbs to close.

“Shops and tuckshops are closed in Mkoba after the police arrested the owners. They are saying tuckshops and retail shops in the suburbs should not open, so we walked into town to look for basics,” said Mr Livingston Chigaba.

In Kariba, people were going about their business as usual. Several shops that had closed opened yesterday.

Kariba municipality health department continued with awareness campaigns imploring people to observe social distancing.

Mahombekombe markets were also open to the public.

Illegal fuel dealers, pirate taxi operators and airtime vendors were operating at most business centres in Beitbridge yesterday.

Pirate taxi operators playing hide and seek with municipality police said they were now working three days a week.

“I survive through proceeds from this taxi. So if I go out three times a day I can get some money to buy food for my family.

“On a normal day, we earn between R300 and R350, but now getting that money is a hustle because of the lockdown,” said a taxi driver who preferred anonymity.

Some airtime vendors said they were only frequenting business centres during business hours to capitalise on the little human traffic in those areas.

Illegal fuel dealers claimed they were providing “essential” services to motorists seeking fuel after 3pm when all shops would have closed as per the lockdown guidelines.

In Bindura, security forces were deployed  in Chipadze, but queues that had started to emerge at all supermarkets in the past few days disappeared yesterday.

Compliance levels in Masvingo were impressive yesterday though there were isolated pockets of resistance.

Some banks opened their doors to serve customers as directed by Government.

The highlight of the first 10 days of the lockdown in Masvingo was initial resistance by people especially in high density residential areas to stay indoors, as groups of people formed mainly around beerhalls.

The resistance disappeared after the provincial Covid-19 task force swiftly responded and improved awareness campaigns and police patrols in suburbs such as Mucheke, Runyararo West and Rujeko.

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira expressed satisfaction with the observance of the order.

While the volume of traffic has slightly increased in the city centre, police continued to screen vehicles getting into the CBD daily.

Mashonaland East Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Cde Aplonia Munzverengwi yesterday encouraged shop owners to desist from stocking basic commodities subsidised by Government.

“We are pleading with the police to monitor and make sure that all food stuffs are sold to everyone,” said Cde Munzverengwi.

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