Did Minister of Finance suggest that people walk home to reduce Covid-19 Infections?

Claim: Professor Mthuli Ncube tells Citizens to walk to reduce Covid-19 infections.

Verdict: Misleading.

Source: Online news sources

Speaking to the media at a Post Cabinet Briefing in Harare on Wednesday Minister Ncube said it is very difficult to guarantee social distancing in small crowded taxis.

“I think you must understand the reasons why the government imposed this in the first place, as other countries did by the way, which is that It’s very difficult to guarantee social distance in a small crowded taxi that takes 20 people” said Professor Ncube.

He said it is the government’s responsibility to actually reduce infections in the public transport sector.

“So really by allowing that to operate, we actually do away with social distancing, we are encouraging infection as government through that it is our responsibility to initially reduce the possibility of infections in the transport sector by making sure those aspects of the transportation sector that force people to be close together are not allowed to operate for a while until we flatten the curve. But I hear you, every restriction comes with a cost. There is a cost even to wearing a mask,” he said.

Minister Ncube said some of the measures put in place by the government come with certain costs as people have to walk home as these measures are meant to protect lives.

“Everything that is designed to protect your life will have some kind of downsize coming with costs but that is the cost of compliance, thus the cost of prevention, sometimes the cost is in the form of inconvenience, you have to walk home, but also the cost should be in the form of money so that the government spends and you have to spend money so it’s a cost that have been born but all for a good cause”.

Minister Mthuli Ncube

He added that it will not be a good idea to immediately open up the transport sector at a time when Covid-19 local transmissions are going up hence the Government continues to review the situation.

“Government continues to review the situation, and I must say that at the moment you will agree with me that the Covid-19 infection has gone up so we should even be more vigilant and  it would not be a good idea to immediately open up space  when the cases are in fact  going up the internal transmission rate has gone up, we should be very careful about that, but we hear you it’s a cost that have to be born, some costs has to be born,” he said.  

Background: When the Government enforced the lockdown in March, some public and private operators were banned from ferrying passengers with only Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) allowed to operate.  The transport challenges faced by commuters has forced some people to walk to distances due to shortage of buses following fuel challenges. The country is also facing a rise of Covid-19 local transmissions. To date the country has recorded 3245 local transmission cases. 

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