Byo residents speak on lockdown extension

Bulawayo residents have expressed mixed feelings over the extension by a further two weeks of the Covid-19-induced lockdown by President Emmerson Mnangagwa Monday afternoon.

Citing the high number of active cases and deaths being recorded, President Mnangagwa extended the lockdown to the end of February.

He however adjusted the curfew hours to run from 8pm to 5am while also re viewing business operating hours to be from 8am to 5pm.

Funeral gatherings remain pegged at 30 while all social gatherings remain prohibited.

Schools and churches will also remain closed during the extension period.

Zimbabwe has so far recorded over 35, 000 Covid-19 infections and more than 1,000 deaths since the first case was detected in the country in March last year.

“Looking at it from a public health perspective I believe it was necessary as the country is still recording new cases and deaths by the day,” Mbongeni Sibanda told CITE.

“The extension allows for the further reduction of cases thereby limiting chances of a 3rd wave. Also it helps the government to roll out the vaccination programme before business resumes as normal.”

He also welcomed the adjustments made to the curfew and business operating hours.

“I support the decision on schools remaining closed as previous experiences last year showed they are super spreaders due to enclosed environments in the classrooms and high numbers,” he added.

He however said he felt churches should be allowed to operate but with limited numbers. “The role they (churches) play in comfort, counselling and guidance during such stressful times shouldn’t be overstated.”

Nicole Moyo said while the extension was necessary in curbing infections in the country, it was going to negatively impact on livelihoods.

“To a greater extent the extension was not necessary; the larger population is impoverished,” she said.

“To support my notion, from the people who have been working during the lockdown as well as getting congested in busses without social distancing have been coming back home safe and we still mingle with them.”

She said the adjustment in business hours would help corporates increase their sales and maximise on profits even during the lockdown.

On churches and schools remaining closed she said: “It means some people are dying spiritually and schools remaining closed means everyone who has to go to school is falling behind and that will affect them badly.”

Kumbirai Nyandoro said the lockdown extension was a setback.

“This lockdown is further inconveniencing us ordinary citizens,” he decried.

“On the extension of lockdown, I believe in a country like Zimbabwe there must be no lockdown. This government has a tendency of rushing decisions and implementing policies that suppress its own citizens but when called to rescue them from the economic meltdown it does nothing to ease their burdens. Remember we are talking about a regime that suppresses and even kills dissenting voices. They must not pretend to save lives; they must just tell us to mask up, social distance and sanitize. Their business is to deal with inflation.”

He said there was no justification to a curfew considering many Zimbabweans are living from hand to mouth.

Nyandoro said had the government invested long back into the schools infrastructure, there would be no need for them to remain closed.

  “Then as of the church, I think them being the solution in all this mess, it’s a wakeup call to call on God, speak out against the ills committed in society and this can all change,” he added.

Siphiwo Moyo failure by citizens to observe Covid-19 protocols was rendering the lockdown ineffective.

She said it did not make sense to extend the essential service business hours by two more hours while other businesses remain shut.

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