Consult Before Extending Lockdwon, Health Experts Warn

PUBLIC health experts have called on President Emerson Mnangagwa to consult various stakeholders from all sectors before instituting a lockdown extension.

By Michael Gwarisa

Even though President Emmerson Mnangagwa has not announced any plans to extend the Lockdown, various sections of the economy believe an extension should not be a copy and paste scenario.

Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) Executive Director, Mr Itai Rusike said the lockdown extension needs extensive consultations lest innocent lives will be endangered especially those who rely heavily on the informal sector.

The lockdown extension will need wider stakeholder consultations, participation input and buy-in for it to be effective as our highly informalized economy will further impoverish the majority por if there is no provision for social grants and food support.”

Zimbabwe commenced its current lockdown on March 30, 2020 as was of reducing the spread of COVID-19. To date, the country an upsurge in the number of COVID-19 cases which now stand at 17, with Bulawayo becoming the latest hot spot for community transmitted cases.

Public Health Expert, Stephen Musarapasi said government should intensify testing before introducing a new lockdown.

[pullquote]“Lockdown after lockdown without maximising on testing suspects to target the prevention and control measures to the rightful targets will not yield desired outcomes.[/pullquote]

“Extension of lockdowns are good but maximum testing and proper isolation management brings best results,” Mr Musarapasi.

The current lockdown has however affected majority of Zimbabweans who are heavily reliant on informal trading for survival.

However, gender and sexual reproductive health expert, Loise Chingandu however said in as much as the economy is heavily affected especially the informal sector, there was need for more stringent measures to ensure the country wont slide into a health hazard.

“Political and economic considerations must not be the determining factor, science should inform decisions. When the virus starts hitting really hard, none will be able to work at all. So, the difference is if you avert infections, healthy people can go back to work,” said Chingandu.





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