The Sunday Mail
The Ministry of Health and Child Care on Friday announced that the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory had successfully tested 188 people since the outbreak of the disease in the country and had confirmed seven cases.
Unfortunately, one person succumbed to the ailment and may his soul rest in eternal peace.
What makes the Friday results important to Zimbabweans and why all people should unite and rally behind Government in containing Covid-19 is that four cases were — one person had visited Britain, two people were in America, while the other one had gone to Dubai.
The other three cases originated internally through contact with infected people, a situation that makes it imperative for all Zimbabweans to play their part because recklessness may cost the lives of thousands of people.
President Mnangagwa announced on Friday that Zimbabwe will go into a 21-day lockdown starting tomorrow as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases continues to rise. So far, all confirmed cases are from Harare (six) while the other is from Victoria Falls.
While most businesses should comply with Government directive, essential services and goods producers and retailers of essential commodities will be open, including food shops, pharmacies and informal food markets and fuel stations.
When a crisis of this magnitude hits a country, there are some unethical businesspeople who may want to see this as an opportunity to profiteer. But this is a clarion call to our brothers and sisters in the business world that the lockdown is just 21 days and there is no need to panic. Even if after 21 days the period is extended, it does not mean the demise of your business.
We need to exercise a lot of caution and restraint.
The pandemic has claimed 25 000 lives and infected over 500 000 people worldwide, with Italy suffering the most because of a plethora of reasons, some of which could have been avoided. Markets have crashed worldwide, businesses have closed including some airlines that stopped functioning, indeed a test case for many businesses that have never experienced this before.
This pandemic has caused serious human capital loss in big, rich and powerful territories where engineers, doctors and trade experts, among other professionals, have succumbed to Covid-19.
We should not behave like we are oblivious to this devastation as we grapple with our own situation here. We have lessons to learn as a people.
We should now be wiser given experiences in country that were afflicted before us.
Therefore, let us heed our President’s call and do as he rightly said we should during the lockdown.
The President said public transport for essential workers will be restricted to services provided by the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) and the Public Service Commission (PSC) and they will be implementing new rules on disinfection and passenger spacing. We call upon people with access to these facilities not to abuse them but to follow rules to the letter.
Other categories of transporters should just stay off the road.
Under normal circumstances people should just do the right thing by staying where they are for the next 21 days. But we are aware that some, for one reason or another, will want to deliberately violate this measure and wander about aimlessly.
Although Government said the lockdown will be enforced by civilian authority, we implore the security forces to be on high alert in instances where some malcontents may want to violate the regulations.
Of course, there will be genuine cases of hospital visits, funerals and other such which will naturally force some out of their homes.
Fellow Zimbabweans, there is no claimed right that is more important than the God-given right to life. There is no right for businesses, individuals — rich or poor — that can be allowed to endanger the right to life for millions of Zimbabweans. Such a right can be curtailed for the common good.
Quoting the President: “This means all our citizens are required to stay at home, except of course in respect of essential movements related to seeking health services; to purchase and procurement of food and medicines and for the essential supplies and critical services.
“Workers manning our essential services, including health services and outlets, emergency and security services, as well as operation of key utilities like power and water, are exempt from this directive.”
The rest please stay at home for the safety of your family, relatives and the nation at large.
We can fight this pandemic together and reduce its impact on our nation if we work in unity.
We commend those companies that are assisting with ventilators and other needs. Hats off also to the medical personnel around their country who are giving their all to make sure the pandemic is contained and that those requiring help are attended to.