Zimbabweans have applauded Government for extending the Level 4 Lockdown prompted by a surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country.
Acting President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga on Friday extended the current lockdown by a further two weeks.
Responding to the news, Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) Executive Director, Itai Rusike said the lockdown restrictions were obviously a result of the poor compliance by the public. He said the escalating Covid-19 cases that have resulted in more people getting sick, and more people dying also necessitated the lookdown extension.
He said there is need for widespread, early and sufficient testing, with contact tracing, enforced quarantines and isolations of those testing positive. Mr Rusike also said travel bans were necessary.
“Suppression strategies, including the current lockdown will enable Zimbabwe to build our health system capacities and reduce fatalities,” he said.
He added that if the lockdown extension measures are poorly managed they may translate into their own negative health impacts such as undernutrition, diseases of poverty, mental disorders, violence and suicide.
“Taking a public health measure like a lockdown thus needs to be carefully balanced against and address the consequences for economically vulnerable communities,” he said.
Chitungwiza Residents Trust, Ms Alice Kuvheya said the extended lockdown is a welcome development as it aims to save human lives.
“Our industries can be only viable if we have healthy citizens. However, we lament over lack of support at community level since many people no longer have other means to survive. There are now alarming levels of criminality especially among youth. Some are even breaking the lockdown regulations in order to make ends meet,” she said.
She urged the Government and other partners to continue to assist with sustainable projects so that people do not continue flocking to towns and cities.
Maidei Mutasa of Chitungwiza said it’s high time that people continue staying at home.
“Of course we may complain that industries are losing revenue due to continuous lockdown measures, but the agenda behind this is to save lives and reduce the burden of hospitalisation,” she said.
Mutasa said she is working from home and feels safe hence she encouraged communities and industries to embrace the information technology to reduce physical meetings. To date (28-01-21) Zimbabwe has witnessed 1160 deaths.
A Herald reader John Sigauke said: “That is the best decision to take under the circumstances. Yes, there are a lot of socio economic disruptions, but we should look at the bigger picture. It is for the greater good of the nation. Police patrols should be intensive in areas where restrictions are being violated.”
Another reader Rutendo Jiri said while there are concerns of citizens to have lockdown restrictions so that businesses go ahead, the number of lives lost everyday warrant another lockdown extension.
“Also if you go the high residential areas people do not wear masks and they roam around,” she said.