Bulawayo residents have expressed mixed feelings over the extension of the country’s Covid-19-induced lockdown by a further two weeks.
The government yesterday extended Level 4 lockdown, noting that while infections are declining, more still needs to be done to control the third wave of the pandemic.
“Government wishes to inform the nation that the Level 4 Lockdown has been extended by another two weeks,” said Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, in a statement.
“This has been necessitated by the realisation that although there has been a notable decrease in the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths, more efforts are required to contain the third wave of the pandemic. We cannot afford to let our guard down until we are all safe. Members of the public are therefore urged to take this opportunity to get vaccinated.”
Under the Level 4 lockdown, inter-city travel remains banned while businesses operate from 8 AM to 3.30 PM.
“The lockdown is okay as we need to flatten the infection curve and if possible, completely halt the infections,” said Mkhululi Tshuma, a social commentator.
“The coming two weeks can help us stem the rate of infections if people become responsible enough.
He said the extension was justified.
“Remember the rate of infection is still high considering that we are not testing people as we should,” he said.
“The pandemic is in the communities and it is there where we need to flatten it. The two weeks if properly managed can get us somewhere. We need to push the vaccination agenda as a country. It will allow us to go back to normalcy.”
Tshuma added: “In any case there is no lockdown to talk about as everything is just normal. The pandemic must be completely vanquished and the extension of current measures is welcome if they can help us achieve it.”
Sipho Nyoni, another Bulawayo resident, said the extension does not make any difference, adding the lockdowns exist more in theory and on paper.
“Daily people are flouting the lockdown rules and so you ask yourself what end benefit is it to extend the lockdown,” he said.
“The extension is not justified but given the fact that it gives dictators a leeway of exerting more oppressive systems or mechanisms on the populace, then you obviously find that the best of autocrats will find opportunity in a lockdown and will extend it for as long as they can.”
Golden Muoni, a businessman and member of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), said the further extension of the lockdown came as a shock to him, adding it was high time the government fully opened the economy.