Zimbabweans’ Behavior During Lockdown Deserves An Extension To Restrictions

AS the nation reaches its 21 days Lockdown climax, the question on everyone’s lips right now is whether there would be an extension or not. With the majority of Zimbabweans being in the informal sector, it is the prayer of many a Zimbabwean that there will be a reprieve with the relaxation on the lockdown.

By Patson Gumbo

President Emerson Mngangwa is set to address the nation this afternoon on the way forward regarding the lockdown and COVID-19 status in Zimbabwe.

It is however appalling though that Zimbabwe, a nation  highly regarded for having a high literacy rate in Africa is actually showing the highest levels of ignorance on the aspects of life and good health. To Zimbabweans, the end of the lockdown also comes with the end of Covid-19, a disease that has killed hundreds of thousands, infecting millions the world over.

To some, Covid-19 started on the 30th of March as it was evidenced by Zimbabweans who were not taking precautions only waiting for the day that the lockdown started. With this level of ignorance and arrogance towards this disease Zimbabwe has to be braced for a wave of cases of Covid-19.

The lockdown days passing each day it was evident that Zimbabweans are not afraid of the novel coronavirus but are instead afraid of the law enforcing agents. Most people would still be grouping and only run away at the sight of the police, yet it is this virus we ought to be most afraid of and we do not need law enforcement agents to remind us to take precautions.

After commencement of the Lockdown on March 30, there was little traffic in the Harare central business district and Mbare with people staying at home. A snap survey showed that it was a different story in the different suburbs in the capital. Yet it is all about isolation and staying at home, those in the high density suburbs could be seen in groups and hanging about together.

To those in most high density surburbs it was just like a public holiday where everyone is home to mix and mingle with friends and have a drink together or go for a boozers’ football match to kill time.

For Zimbabweans the major enemy is not the novel coronavirus, it is not the government but we are our own major enemies. Not only are we arrogant, we are stubborn and selfish, and do not take things seriously at all, thinking everything is a joke and not taking into consideration the gravity of our actions. As others are taking measures to prevent Covid-19 and preparing to fight the virus, others are taking advantage of the situation to raise the prices of sanitizers and basic goods.

Yes, most Zimbabweans are informal traders and cannot afford not to go about their normal business, but let us all agree that our health is far much more important than the income. What use will the income be when this virus wipes all away from the face of this earth? It’s high time that we guard against our lives, our health is not in the hands of the government, it starts with you as an individual. And as the majority argue againts continuing with the lockdown so they can go back to their businesses, it is of great importance to note that our neighbouring countries are still on lockdown, places that we depend on for most of the goods that we resell in Zimbabwe.

I for one am someone who needs to wake each day and hustle but it is a time to avoid unnecessary movements and prevent the continued spread of this virus. This virus can get to anyone and I am not immune to it, but it is important I play my part and exercise extreme caution where possible.

In as much as we would not want this but at the current moment an extension to the lockdown is really what we need at this time if we are to try and contain this disease. Government on the other hand should come with ways of assisting people with businesses that have been affected by the pandemic and provide basic essentials that are required by an average family on daily basis.

As of now our hope with regards to this virus lies only in God, with the world still to find a cure to this disease. This just shows the seriousness of this pandemic and the need to prevent where we can, yet as it is unavoidable but let us play our part as Zimbabweans. As we ask for God’s mercy on this, we have to play our part to ensure that it does not continue spreading by exercising extreme hygiene practices, avoid public places and more importantly pray for the world.

Now is the time for the church to play an active role in not only praying for Covid-19 to end but to educate their congregants on this pandemic and encourage them to exercise caution to stop the spread. Coronavirus is real and it kills, take action today, spread the world and take extra precaution. Together we can beat this virus.

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