Covid-19: Deploy health experts, not politicians, Ibhetshu LikaZulu urges Govt

THE deployment of Government ministers and Members of Parliament (MPs) to constituencies to educate people on Covid-19 must be reviewed as they are not health experts but politicians who may use the opportunity to abuse public funds, a local pressure group, Ibhetshu LikaZulu has said.

Ibhetshu LikaZulu argued that health personnel should be the ones tasked with the role of disseminating information about the Covid-19 pandemic to citizens instead.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa Monday announced new lockdown restrictions that placed Zimbabwe on Level Four to curb the spread of Covid-19 seeing how daily infection cases under the pandemic’s third wave have worsened of late.

As part of the new Level Four measures, the president said ministers and MPs would be dispatched to their constituencies to disseminate information on the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

But the secretary-general of Ibhetshu LikaZulu, Mbuso Fuzwayo, told CITE that the deployment of ministers and MPs was reckless as they were not trained health practitioners, adding their methods of distributing information could turn out to be super spreaders.

“We have noted the measures that were announced by the President to curb the spread of Covid-19. Indeed the world and our country are in deep crisis. The disease seems to be spreading fast. We are, however, disturbed with the intended deployment of legislators and ministers to educate the communities on the Covid-19,” he said.

Fuzwayo noted this deployment seemed to be a scheme to abuse public funds.

“We find these measures reckless, may result in misinformation and putting the lives of people at risk. To the ordinary person this looks like a looting scheme where members of the legislature will be pampered with hefty allowances yet putting lives of their constituencies at risk,” said the social activist.

He indicated that at this moment in the crisis, citizens expected selfless leadership not ‘selfish dealership.’

“We urge the government to reconsider and stop this instead of allowing health professionals to carry out the task following recommended standards,” Fuzwayo said.

“We urge the government to speedily make sure that the vaccines are available to the informal traders, as soon as possible, rather than to shut down their businesses, the government is better advised to emphasise preventative measures as vaccines continue to be proven to be not as effective as expected.”

On June 29, 2021, the country recorded 1 249 new local cases of infection, one of the highest daily increases recorded in the country.

The single biggest daily increase for Zimbabwe was recorded on January 5, 2021, with 1 365 new cases and 34 deaths since the country’s first case in April last year. 

Under the new lockdown measures, custodial sentences for fake Covid-19 certificate holders will be imposed, intercity travel has been banned and there would be mandatory quarantine for deportees and those from countries with Alpha and Delta Covid-19 variants.

Businesses will now operate from 8am and close at 3.30pm while the curfew time starts at 6.30 pm to 6am.

These restrictions would be in place for two weeks pending a review of the situation.

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