THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) have reverted to transporting commuters at full capacity in Bulawayo after the government dismissed the localised lockdown in the city, which police had started enforcing last week.
The buses on Monday morning were ferrying passengers into the city at more than full capacity with some standing despite concerns that conditions in those buses exposed people to the coronavirus.
There was a transport crisis in the city last Friday when ZUPCO reduced the number of commuters per trip as part of complying with the police directive.
CITE on Friday witnessed snake-winding queues on Friday as commuters waited for long hours to be picked from the residential areas to town and vice versa.
Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa had last Tuesday announced that the Cabinet had approved a localised lockdown for Bulawayo and other Covid-19 hotspots but did not give full details on implementation.
However, police in Bulawayo last Thursday went ahead and imposed a dusk to dawn curfew with immediate effect as measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the city.
Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Abednico Ncube said public transport should carry passengers at half capacity.
“Public transport in the specified areas should not exceed half the maximum capacity that is according to Statutory Instrument 183 of 2021. Operators from other areas in Bulawayo which are not named in the localised lockdown should not overload; we are hereby enforcing these directives,” he said.
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister, John Mangwiro, Saturday dismissed the purported lockdown in Bulawayo saying the police do not have the authority to impose a lockdown.
Mangwiro said the second largest city was still under the general lockdown regulations, with the 10pm to 5:30am curfew and business closing by 6pm.
“If there is going to be a lockdown, I would like to advise the public, such an announcement would be made by the Head of State, who is the President Dr ED Mnangagwa, or anyone he would have designated or the Minister of Health and Child Care or anyone designated to do that on his behalf,” said Mangwiro.