Concern as Harare residents ignore social distancing rules

Corona Virus
Corona Virus

Cynthia Chitombi

Failure to observe social distancing to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus has raised serious concern amid calls for government to take action and avert a possible disaster in Harare’s residential areas.

The Harare Residents Association has noted with serious concern that despite the indefinite extension of the lockdown by President Mnangagwa recently, government has concentrated monitoring the public in the Central Business District only.

Under the lockdown regulations people are expected to maintain social distancing to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) but HRT noted that people were disregarding the rules.

“People are moving around freely and social distancing is not being practiced. In Rugare people are now drinking beer and shops are no longer limiting the number of people entering. In Kuwadzana 1 the situation is the same,” HRT said in its latest report.

The Trust also noted that Covid-19 awareness was lacking among the residents.

“People are wearing face masks out of fear of the consequences by the lockdown enforcement authorities and not as a precautionary measure.

“Residents are only wearing face masks when they are visiting places that they know they might come across the police.

“Masks are not being worn as a preventive measure but for fear of the police. Awareness is therefore still lacking in the communities,” HRT said.

Police and soldiers have joined hands in trying to make people adhere to the lockdown rules by conducting surprise raids but according to HRT the lockdown enforcement authorities are no longer moving around in suburbs.

“These authorities are not doing enough to stop the unnecessary movements and some are involved in fraud as they are taking bribes from trespassers.

“On Monday, it was reported that in Zengeza 5, the police received bribes from people who were not wearing face masks,” the Trust reported.

A major hindrance to the observance of social distancing rules is the unavailability of tap water in most residential areas.

“The unavailability of tap water is resulting in queues at community water points, where social distancing is rarely practiced,” the Harare Residents Trust said.

Furthermore, people are spending hours queuing for the few available ZUPCO buses at different termini, complicating the need for social distancing.

Zimbabwe has recorded 56 cases of Covid-19 including four deaths.

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