Lockdown extension: Mnangagwa walks tight rope
By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa faces the unenviable task of deciding on whether to extend the national lockdown period which ends this Sunday or simply allow the period to lapse.
Either way, the national leader is in a fix as results or the two choices have dire consequences on his people.
The 21-day national lockdown period imposed against the spread of coronavirus end of last month saw poor locals locked out of their market stalls, and other sources of income.
He cannot confine them longer.
On the other hand, it would be full hardy not to extend the period after the recent spike in confirmed cases signalled danger for a country that can hardly afford a health catastrophe of the Covid-19 magnitude.
The cases have risen to 23.
Addressing the media few days ago, Mnangagwa said he was going to decide on weather to extend the lockdown on Monday, in what would be hours after the lapse of the economically taxing but necessary job and business break.
The Secretary-General of the World Health Organisation last Friday advised that countries that restrictions can be lifted in circumstances in which Covid-19 transmission is controlled; health systems have the capacity to detect, test, isolate and treat every case of Covid-19 and trace every contact of those infected.
The restrictions can also be relaxed is outbreak risks are minimised in special settings; preventative measures against Covid-19 infection are in place in essential places that people go to such as workplaces, schools; importation risks are managed and communities are fully educated and engaged to adjust to the “new norm”.
“Obviously, Zimbabwe does not fulfil any of these criteria, so extending the lockdown seems necessary. The spread of Covid-19 is probably just starting in Zimbabwe,” says Legal watchdog Veritas.
“Our health services are not equipped to handle a large pandemic, therefore containing its spread is still vital.”
Hungry Zimbabweans who have been interviewed by local media have shown growing agitation with their continued confinement and have opted to brave the menacing disease while fending for their families.