Business as usual as Covid wreaks havoc


SOUTHERN REGION – Hundreds of thousands of people in the five southern provinces of Zimbabwe continue to do business as usual including gathering in overcrowded places, selling food in the streets, hugging and clubbing despite Covid 19 which threatens to wipe out large sections of the World population.
This is despite that Governments throughout the world have ordered lockdowns; where citizens stay indoors and strict and harsh rules have been introduced to enforce that.
Mirror reporters based in Masvingo, Midlands, Mash East, Mat South and Manicaland provinces expressed shock during a three-day survey at the lack of awareness of the threat of Covid 19 among the country’s majority.
“It is life as usual in Chipinge. Residents gather in large numbers in queues for mealie meal, busses and they hug and hold hands in the streets. There is shocking lack of awareness among the public. Generally nothing has changed among the majority in terms of behaviour”, said Two Nations Editor, Ellen Mlambo.
She however, said awareness was high among ordinary people with access to social media and these were withdrawing from public life.
She said that many people that she interviewed expressed anger at Government for failing to show leadership in the fight against the pandemic. She called for more awareness and warned that an outbreak in Chipinge will spread like veld fire.
Mirror Assistant Editor, Elizabeth Mashiri who is based in Gweru said the only behavioural change in the city is to do with the corporate world and in particular banks and supermarkets. She said ordinary people have done little to adjust to the challenges of the pandemic.
“The most that ordinary people do is to crack jokes about the virus and life goes on.
“However, Banks, big companies and supermarkets like OK have sanitisers at the entrances to their buildings and their staff are putting on masks and gloves. Use of sanitisers on entering some supermarkets is not compulsory and this weakens the campaign.
“Vendors including those trading in foreign currency are another big challenge to the campaign against the spread of the Corona virus. Cold foods, fruits and large wards of money change hands every day creating a very conducive environment for the spread of the disease,” said Mashiri.
She said that Government awareness campaigns are not visible in the city and the few people who are adjusting are those who have access to social media.
“It has been extremely difficult to get updates from the Provincial Medical Director. In fact he never responds to the media. I however, managed to talk to the Mayor, Joseph Makombe who told me that a 32 bed corona center is being set up in Ascot Gweru. There are no facilities there yet. The situation in Gweru is alarming,” said Mashiri.
Mirror News Editor Simbarashe Mtembo said the anti Corona Virus campaign in Masvingo is in a state of disarray, neglect and there is no co-ordination of activities.
“Chitima, the biggest informal market here is loaded with tens of people doing business. Tsungai market, Victoria and the Town Council markets are a hive of activity. People are going to work as usual; no sanitisers, no masks and no Corona Virus education,” said Mtembo.
“The corona virus isolation centre that is being set up in Rujeko is shrouded in confusion. There is no one who knows when it is going to be completed or where the material including beds are going to come from,” said Mtembo.
Mirror Chief Editor Nkulumani Mlambo called on the private sector to move into the situation without delay.
“There should be a Public Private Sector Partnership on this matter and this is an urgent matter. Government has shown little will to confront the problem, it has no resources and its doom all over. We need the private sector including companies like Econet to come in,” said Mlambo.

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