BY SILAS NKALA
COVID-19 has hit hard the Bulawayo City Council (BCC), stalling efforts to clear sewer blockages and pipe bursts in the city.
The development was confirmed by town clerk Christopher Dube on Saturday through a notice to residents.
“The City of Bulawayo would like to advise the public that its sewage task teams have been affected by the rising number of COVID-19 cases. As a result, this has impacted negatively on service delivery resulting in a growing backlog of sewer chokes that need to be attended to,” Dube said.
“While all the precautionary measures of masking up, social distancing and hand sanitising are being meticulously observed, and vaccination is underway, this has not averted the spread of COVID-19 among council staff, especially outside the work environment.”
Dube said COVID-19 cases had, in some cases, resulted in the quarantine of the whole team whenever a member tested positive, with five out of eight teams currently either in quarantine or isolation.
“This has greatly reduced staffing levels available to attend to outstanding sewer blockages throughout the city, hence negatively impacting on the reaction time to attend to sewer burst reports.
“As a consequence, a further increase in the sewer blockage backlog might be observed.
“The council is exploring ways to combat the situation through other means.
“The City of Bulawayo, thus wishes to apologise to its valued customers for any inconveniences that are likely to be caused.”
The development comes at a time when more than 100 000 residents have received COVID-19 jabs, with health officials expressing confidence that they will soon attain the targeted herd immunity.
Indications have been that 90% of the COVID-19 deaths in the city were recorded from unvaccinated people, hence the need to scale up the inoculation exercise.
BCC’s health department said 109 483 people were inoculated with the first jab while 63 366 received their second dose.