Covid-19 puts holiday plans in limbo

The spike in Covid-19 cases being recorded across the country ahead of Christmas has put festive holiday plans for many in limbo.

Covid-19 daily infections have been spiralling since the detection of the Omicron variant in neighbouring South Africa late last month prompting the government to tighten lockdown measures, which were further extended Tuesday for the next two weeks.

It is during the Christmas holidays that many Zimbabweans travel to different places to be with their loved ones. However, this time around holidaymakers are divided over whether to travel or not.

“Actually I had planned to travel but due to the current Covid-19 cases which are rising, I won’t be travelling and will spend more time indoors and adhere to the latest government guidelines on combating the pandemic,” said Harare based Mthulisi Ncube of Mangwe

“It’s so frustrating as it (Covid-19) has grounded all my plans. I usually plan to attend church gatherings or family gatherings during the festive season as it is family time but not this year to avoid exposing myself, my wife and my kids. It will be a lonely enclosed indoor holiday.”

Ncube said he was no longer excited about the Christmas holiday.

“I wish the Christmas Holiday can be postponed to a later date when Covid-19 has been controlled and contained. It’s just bad news now to think of the Christmas holiday,” he added.

Thabani Ncube of Luveve, Bulawayo, said rising cases would affect their usual annual family gatherings.

“We are used to travelling, especially going to rural areas where our parents are staying,” he said.

“It has become a good way for us as a family to meet in rural areas with our family members coming from different places, some from outside the country to spend the festive season together. I intend to travel, though it won’t be as usual because some family members will not make it due to Covid-19 cross border restrictions.”

Covid-19, Ncube said, was complicating everything around festive season celebrations.

“The increase in Covid-19 cases is affecting us because we are no longer going to have gatherings that we normally have in this season, and we fear that in our visits to rural areas we might go with this virus and infect our family members with this flu which is affecting a lot of people these days and we don’t know whether it’s flu or Covid-19,” he said.

“Actually I’m not excited at all with what is happening this Christmas because we don’t have money to buy groceries for our families. You can’t imagine this is Christmas when a lot of people are complaining of hunger. There’s no money, there are queues in town with people spending nights there for them to get forex from banks.”

Admire Kudita, a journalist, said the surge in Covid-19 cases over the past two weeks was impacting many people’s decisions to travel to other places.

“One is always having the sceptre of infections looming over one’s head and Covid is a terrible life-threatening disease as we all know,” he said.

“So particularly for us who are residents of Bulawayo, Matabeleland you will know that because of historical ties a lot of our people are across the border and many of them are coming back from Botswana and South Africa. With that comes both good and bad things. The good maybe being the reunions, groceries, the gifts but the bad being possible infections as we all know that Covid-19 or Omicron needs a human agent to carry it from point A to point B, so for that reason one now is very cautious about making trips.”

Modise Ndlovu of Gwanda South said while he intends to travel to his rural home he feared there could be a tougher lockdown that could hinder his return to Hwange where he is working.

However, Qalani Nhliziyo said he will travel to his rural area in the Midlands the same way he has done every Christmas holiday.

“The increase in [Covid-19] cases is not affecting any of my plans because there are no cases of Covid-19 in our rural area, it’s actually safer than urban areas.”

Nhliziyo was however quick to say Christmas was now different today compared to yesteryears

“Since the year 2000, there has not been a Christmas party to talk about,” he said. “The socioeconomic and political circumstances of Zimbabwe have ruined our celebration. Christmas is now a free holiday to just get days off from work.”

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