Govt urged to further relax lockdown to save livelihoods

Bulawayo residents have urged the government to further relax Covid-19 lockdown measures in order to save livelihoods of many Zimbabweans which are now in jeopardy.

Zimbabwe has been under lockdown since March 30, which however has been subjected to a number of reviews and adjustments.

The country today remains under indefinite level 2 lockdown in which the government through its ZUPCO buses is the only public transporter following the banning of private transport operators in March.

Intercity and inter-province transport also remains suspended making movement of people very difficult.

The country’s borders remain shut to the general public while businesses are only allowed to operate between 0800 and 1630hours, a development negatively impacting on their profits.

The country’s education institutions that include schools, colleges and universities have also closed indefinitely.

Speaking to CITE Friday, a number of Bulawayo residents said it was high time lockdown measures were relaxed.

Their plea comes at a time when the country has recorded over 6, 000 positive cases, over 5,000 of which are recoveries.

The country has also recorded 189 Covid-19 fatalities.

“I think we have come to a point where we have come to terms with the pandemic,” Mhlangabezi Ndlovu told CITE.

“We now have to live with it just like any other viruses, practise what the experts tell us to do, wash masks and practice hygiene. As a nation I believe we have to relax the lockdown.”

Ndlovu said the majority of Zimbabweans who are self-employed no longer have any income with Covid-19 having adversely impacted the informal sector.

“People who used to transport their goods from one place to another can’t at the moment; cross-border traders are at dire straits,” he bemoaned.

He said there was an urgent need for the government to bring back private sector transportation underscoring the need to further conscientise Zimbabweans on the pandemic in order to do away with myths surrounding Covid-19.

“Three quarters of Zimbabweans don’t have internet and access to many forms of media,” he said.

“You would be shocked there are some people who still think this pandemic is fake.”

Mkhululi Tshuma, a final year student at a local university echoed Ndlovu’s sentiments on the need for the government to relax the lockdown measures.

“The lockdown should be further relaxed,” he said.

“We have failed to finish our studies as lectures have been suspended. People are not working and crime is rising; kombi touts are also off the road.”

He added that while relaxing lockdown measures, the government should still ensure more testing of people continues while kombis are brought back to the road.

“Certainly the lockdown must be reviewed and relaxed a bit more to allow more people to get on with their livelihoods, at the same time ensuring Covid-19 regulations are strictly adhered to,” said Methuseli Moyo, another Bulawayo resident.

“The measures are at some level a hindrance to my economic activity. I am into buying and selling. No one is buying. People have no money. The story is the same with those I know. Incomes have dwindled to around 30 percent.”

Moyo also stressed on the need to bring back commuter omnibuses and allowing the informal sector to freely operate in order to alleviate starvation among many poor Zimbabweans.

However, Takhuleka Ndlovu is of the view that the current lockdown measures should remain in light of the rising Covid-19 cases.

“I think the current lockdown measures should continue taking into consideration the number of Covid-19 cases that are increasing every day,” she told CITE.

“There is a need as well to implement the measures practically and not have them on paper only.”

She was however quick to say the lockdown was affecting people’s livelihoods.

“The current measures are affecting those around me in that most of those who are in business are not making money hence not able to provide for their families.”

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