Queues resurface in Byo CBD despite lockdown extension

Queues in the central business district (CBD) of Bulawayo, which had disappeared late last month when the country entered into the 21-day national lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 have since resurfaced.

Zimbabwe on March 30 began the three weeks of national lockdown as the country intensified its fight against the deadly pandemic which has so far infected 25 and claimed three people in the Southern African nation.

The shutdown, which expired on April 19 was on Sunday extended by two more weeks up to May 3.

During the first three weeks of the unprecedented lockdown, Zimbabwe’s second largest city was almost deserted with no queues, which had become characteristic of every city and town in the country.

However, this morning CITE witnessed some snake-winding queues at the market place, banks and money agent shops such as Western Union and Mukuru.

At the market place, residents could be seen buying vegetables such as cabbages, tomatoes and others.

A queue at the Mukuru outlet situated along Jason Moyo Street, between 5th and 6th avenues, was stretching right round through the market place and further to Fife Street.

There were also queues at banks such as First Capital Bank, formerly Barclays, Stanbic and ZB Bank, with some people wanting to withdraw from their Nostro accounts.

The flooding of the town by residents who make up the queues is, however, happening at a time when the police have become tougher on enforcing the lockdown regulations.

ZUPCO buses that ferry people into town are now at times subjected to more than one road-block where citizens are expected to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that their reasons for travelling are water-tight.

In extending the lockdown, President Emmerson Mnangagwa relaxed some of the restrictions, which saw the mining and manufacturing sector being allowed to resume operations to avert a total economic shutdown.

“Government is acutely aware of the need to keep the economy running, all-be-it at subdued levels,” said President Mnangagwa.

“With this objective in mind, government has decided to allow the mining sector to resume or scale up operations, even then within parameters set by the World Health Organisation regarding social distancing and other public health safety measures.”

He added: “In respect of our manufacturing sector, I have further directed that limited operations resume in the national interest, but mindful of the public health safeguards as already announced. Inspectors will be visiting all operations to ensure these safeguards are being strictly adhered to. This reprieve covers our manufacturers in our informal sector and SMEs as well, who have to use these two weeks to rebuild their capacities and stocks.”

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