ZIMBABWE today (Monday) started its 21-days shutdown joining other nations that have since started the lockdown in a bid to reduce spreading the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his State address on the shutdown last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said all citizens are required to stay at home, except for essential movements related to seeking health services or to purchase and procure food and medicines and any other essential supplies and critical services.
“While funerals will be exempt from this directive, numbers in attendance should not exceed 50. Visits to hospitals and clinics remain as earlier announced, that is one visitor per patient per day… Motorists seeking to refuel their vehicles will not be allowed to leave their vehicles,” said the President.
As for the informal sector vegetable (food) markets were allowed to operate, although under the control of health personnel, while those trading in non-food items we banned over the weekend.
Government and the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe will monitor prices and availability of basic commodities during the 21-day lockdown period that starts today to protect ordinary people from unjust business practices.
On the otherhand Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza in a statement yesterday (Sunday) said there would be a taskforce to monitor prices and the availability of basic commodities during the 21-day lockdown that will work in conjunction with the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe.
The Minister released a list of essential industries and service providers that would remain operational during the 21-day period. Essential service providers and producers that have been exempted from the lockdown include those in electricity distribution, water supply, sewerage and sanitation, supply of fuel, LP gas and other industrial gases, ICT — data centres, basic telecoms, fibre optic infrastructure, towers and antennae.
From the manufacturing sector the Industry and Commerce Minister said manufacturers and producers of products and services supporting the health sector should remain open.
These include manufacturing and distribution of health related products, supplies, devices, equipment and medicines, as well as essential inputs thereto; agricultural and food supply related operations, including farming, veterinary and phytosanitary service providers, pest control services, chemical and fertiliser production and distribution; food, beverages, poultry and dairy products, including manufacturing, processing and distribution facilities for the value chain; manufacturing and importation of basic commodities; manufacturing, processing and distribution of sanitisation products, including soaps, detergents, disinfectants and sanitisers.
Others are those involved in the production and distribution of sanitary products, including sanitary pads, cotton wool, tissues; warehousing, transport and logistics for food and essential products, and health related goods; production of packaging products that are critical in the movement and distribution of the above goods; food outlets, retail and wholesale shops for food and essential products.
The statement further said that all activities for exporters of manufactured goods and horticultural produce and funeral parlours and support services will also remain open. (Pictures:Ngoni Dapira)
A customer (white top) getting hand sanitized before entering Nandoos Mutare as the leading fast food franchise observes hygiene and stay safe efficacy to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Customers in a queue outside Spar Mutare waiting for their turn to enter the supermarket. Most retail outlets in the central business district (CBD) yesterday (Sunday) started adhering to the calls for decongesting shops to reduce contact and the spread of COVID-19.
Fuel attendants at Total in Mutare city centre wearing masks whilst serving customers. As people who are at high risk to easily contract COVID-19 on duty because of the many customers they meet with, masks help reduce contracting the virus.
Vendors who sell traditional herbs were also cashing in on the COVID-19 pandemic over the weekend as people are trying almost everything that will help boost the immune system to avoid contracting the virus.
The Zuva gas (in green top) attendant almost got attacked by angry customers that were infuriated after he closed early yesterday at 4pm due to commotion that had erupted. Some people said they queued for gas from 9am but still failed to get served.
Government will need to take extra care of the disabled during the COVID-19 shutdown. An unidentified disabled man was also doing last minute shopping at Mutare Produce Market on Saturday.
Sakubva Produce Market commodity vendors were on Saturday crying the blues in fear of how they will survive for 21 days. Health experts however believe the ban of all informal traders was a necessary evil to combat the spread of COVID-19 as people ignored calls for social distancing and decongesting in the market places.