By TEMBA NZOUNHENDA
Covid -19 is here. We have every reason to be alive to the requirements to prevent further spread of the disease. Thanks to the Government for taking the necessary step of banning gatherings of 100 people and above as well as closing of schools and colleges. This was and is a vital step in the right direction, especially considering our ill-preparedness to fight the scourge through other mechanisms besides quarantine methods. Our health system is virtually dead such that even doctors hope for divine intervention.
The irony of the presidential decree is that it is somehow not cognisant of the real situation on the ground. A simple tour of Harare and Chitungwiza tells a sad situation. Chigovanyika and Huruyadzo in St Marys, Zvido in Seke Unit N, Mufakose, Machipisa, Mbare, Epworth and Kambuzuma among many other locations, are a hive of vending activity. The activities attract crowds and the sizes defy the dictates of the decree. The situation is even worse at ZUPCO queues. One wonders how such situations can be miti gated in view of the Corona virus. Other functional economies are providing cushioning mechanisms for workers and companies being affected by the losses as a result of the scourge.
Our hospitals are overcrowded, there are more patients on the floor than on beds, are we going to see patients being discharged to reduce crowds in hospitals? The potential of closing borders with other countries have presented other challenges of panic buying in supermarkets. Supermarkets are always overcrowded, and the fight against the spread of the virus is compromised. Ours has become such a betting crazy nation with betting houses so full one can not even move an inch. People are surviving on betting and the spread of the virus seems better to the patrons than staying away from source of income and livelihoods.
The worst of all these challenges is being urged to wash hands and be hygeinic when there is no water in our taps. Without running water, the fight against wandom spread of the virus is doomed. One would ask how clean we can get without water in our homes. Its time we must rethink and restrategise for effective implementation of policies on fighting Covid-19. But, water is a basic need and right, with a constitutional obligation on government to provide same.
So basically, we are being asked to choose between two devils. Suffer from hunger or from covid-19, what’s it gonna be? This is a far cry for a more comprehensive and well thought out intervention from government to address these concerns. The decree is welcome but more is needed to make it effective and successful. Thorough monitoring and implementation tools must be put in place as well. Above all else, resource the whole exercise please.