Zimbabwe records a whopping 774 new coronavirus cases on first day of stiffer lockdown, Chamisa says lockdown targets the poor


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Zimbabwe today recorded a whopping 774 new coronavirus cases on the first day of its stiffer 30-day lockdown raising the number of new cases in the first three days of this year to 1 398.

Harare alone recorded 571 new cases today.

The total number of cases has now risen to 15 265 since the outbreak in March last year.

Three people died from the virus today pushing the death toll to 380.

Seventeen people have died in the past three days.

Some 211 people recovered 114 of them from the Midlands pushing the total to 11 575.

The number of active cases, however, rose to 3 311 with Harare accounting for 1 313 followed by Matebeleland South with 469 and Bulawayo with 393.

Movement for Democratic Chance Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa criticized the 30-day lockdown saying sound public policy requires broad consultation of citizens.

“It must be scientific and for this reason it ought to be evidence-based. The latest lockdown measures lack scientific rigour, rationality & consistency. We suggest consultation with business, labour &Church,” he tweeted.

“The application of rules must be fair and non-selective because the virus does not select on the basis of status, class or political affiliation. Rules are effective not only when they apply to others, but when applied to those who make them.

“The latest rules do not deal with the supporting measures to citizens and communities during lockdown. If people must stay at home, support is key. Commanding the closure of the economy without the necessary support, economic reliefs, medical &social measures is suicidal.”

He argued that with 80% of the economy informal, a lockdown without complementary support system would lose traction.

“Faced with starvation, people will be forced to breach lockdown rules, posing more risk to themselves and others,” Chamisa said.

“For this reason, there ought to be an economic and social safety net to support people during lockdown. Simply announcing rules to keep people at home without more is a command style rulership which shows total disregard to people’s interests.

“Another critical omission from the new measures is the failure to address the plight of healthcare staff on the frontline. Healthcare workers without PPE is like sending soldiers to the front without guns and ammunition. It’s cruel and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

The MDC leader said the new rules are aimed at the poor while the wealthy are allowed a free pass.

“There is a clear pattern emerging in the way rules are crafted and enforced. The principal target are the poor people while the wealthy are allowed a free pass. Breaches committed in Borrowdale by elites must be met with the same force as breaches in Mbare by ghetto youths.

“What, for example, is the rationale for closing landports  while keeping open airports? It appears elitist as air travel is limited to a few with means while the majority who use road transport are locked in.

“The closure of borders also locks in hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans who work and support families and the country in neighbouring countries. Their remittances are a major source of income but they are now locked in.

“We don’t just have a health crisis here but a governance and leadership crisis. We have provinces even districts and we have hotspots and epicenters. Why not have isolation and targeted lockdowns for hot spots, where we identify red zones than to lock the whole nation.”

(50 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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