COVID-19: Let us remain vigilant

Source: COVID-19: Let us remain vigilant | Newsday (News)

THE Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) notes the introduction of a stiff lockdown by the government as announced by Vice-President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga.

We believe this move was made in the interest of public health in light of the recent upsurge in COVID-19 deaths and positive cases.

The measures, which include a 6pm-6am curfew, as well as the shutdown of all non-essential services, including the informal sector also entail the closure of the country’s borders.

The measures, announced recently, are a logical reaction to the unfolding crisis, and we commend the government for acting swiftly.

What is, however, of concern to us as an informal sector representative organisation is that there is no provision for social protection for vulnerable groups such as our members in the informal sector.

Clearly, the government has not drawn lessons from the first lockdown despite the announcement of the existence of a cushioning fund, it did not benefit the majority of informal traders, amid reports that influential politicians and civil servants were the bulk of recipients. In the few cases where informal traders received the allowance, its value had long been eroded by inflation.

As Viset, it is our well-considered view that lockdown measures should be implemented along with increased spending on health services and remuneration for our long-suffering health personnel and the introduction of a robust social protection scheme that has the input of all informal sector representative groups, as a matter of urgency.

We urge Zimbabweans to take due care and observe World Health Organisation protocols on COVID-19, that is to mask up, sanitise and maintain social distance. As we have seen, this disease does not discriminate.

Viset information and publicity department