The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter
THE Government has expressed concern over the growing trend of people flouting Covid-19 pandemic lockdown regulations amid growing calls for their tightening as figures mainly in the Matabeleland region continue to surge.
This comes with reports that the Matabeleland region accounts for 62 percent of new cases recorded in the country in the past 30 days (as of last Friday).
Last week the Bulawayo provincial Covid-19 taskforce said it was recommending that the city goes back to either complete lockdown or suburb specific lockdown as officials try to quickly combat the continued increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the cityGiving her weekly Covid-19 update on Friday, the Chief Co-ordinator of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Agnes Mahomva said it was worrying that the public was acting as if the lockdown had been lifted. She said the general complacency in adhering to the lockdown regulations was now hampering the country’s efforts in containing the pandemic.
“Lockdown orders are very much still in place, however, people are just not adhering to them. Government is therefore working to strengthen enforcement and urges the public to do its part by adhering to all existing lockdown orders including all other recommended public health and social measures. It is unfortunate that many people are of the impression that the country is no longer under lockdown, which is not true. The lockdown order is still there, public bars, nightclubs, house parties, beerhalls, casinos, movie theatres and betting houses are still not permitted to operate,” said Dr Mahomva.
She said even though a number of relaxations have been made since the lockdown was declared on 30 March, there was a need to realise that the main principles of the lockdown and the curfew were still in place.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahomva revealed that the rising figures in the Matabeleland region was worrying noting that there was a need for health officials and lockdown enforcement agents work together to effectively contain the pandemic.
“In the past 30 days, we have had 730 new cases of which 260 are from Bulawayo, this translating to 36 percent of the cases, 99 (14 percent) are from Matabeleland North and 95 (13 percent) are from Matabeleland South. This means in the past 30 days; 62 percent of the recorded cases are from the Matabeleland region.
“In terms of deaths in the past 30 days, the country recorded 26 deaths of which 19 are from Bulawayo, which translates to 73 percent. This is honestly a worrying trend and shows us the need to strictly adhere to the lockdown regulations so that we manage to contain the spread of the pandemic in the country,” she said.
Last week, police also warned members of the public that that the country was still under Covid-19 lockdown measures which include a curfew which runs from 2200 hours till 0600 hours the following day and that enforcement of health, safety and security measures was still paramount.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police reminds the public that gatherings allowed by the Government should strictly observe and comply with the requirement of 100 or less people at church gatherings, 50 or less people at funerals, low risk sports and sports clubs. Let us take note that weddings, birthday, house parties, political and other social gatherings which include musical shows and concerts are still banned.
Church leaders are warned against hosting or convening all night prayers. It is also clear that night clubs, bars, beer-halls and casinos are not allowed to operate under these Covid-19 safety measures,” reads part of the statement.