I went into town yesterday to assess the situation in my country.
I was pretty perplexed with how everyone is going on with their daily chores without a care in the world about the Corona Virus. The streets are still lined up with vendors as usual, most shops are opened without any sanitizers in sight and definitely people are getting into public transport that has more than 100 people.
The internet is about to break though! Zimbabweans are livid! They are calling the government and its cabinet as well as the President to step up the prevention measures. In a nutshell, the President introduced restrictions of gatherings of more than 100 people that is to say, weddings,churches and any events scheduled should be cancelled for the next coming 60 days not forgetting sporting events that have also been suspended with immediate effect. President Emmerson Mnangagwa went on to call this a national disaster.
I’d like to first understand though what a national disaster is? What does the term national disaster mean? So far, they haven’t been any confirmed positive cases of Covid 19 in Zimbabwe. Is Zimbabwe invincible to this virus? According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), as per the Disaster Management Act, 2005, clause 2 (d) a “disaster” means a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man-made causes, or by accident or negligence which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of, property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment, and is of such a nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area. If they haven’t been any cases so far, then I don’t think its yet a “national disaster’ but probably ‘a national emergency.’
Secondly, I doubt restrictions of more than 100 people are going to be effective as our Zupco buses ferry 75 people seated and 15 standing passengers. The number is low in writing but high practically because of the overload that usually happens. The bus fare is lower than most public transport services leading to an overwhelming number of commuters boarding the buses.
I commend the President for cancelling the ZITF and Independence events as these major events see a number of people travelling to and fro the borders. There are people crying foul about the few preventive measures mentioned, some want schools closed down: It could be that we do not have any cases so far that’s why its unnecessary at the moment.
Are we safe? Are the people in Zimbabwe safe?
Is our economy finally working for us ? Seeing that we do not have an influx of investors in this country because of the inflation and erratic economic woes. Could this be the reason why we do not have any person infected yet? Or is it that we haven’t truly detected anything yet? Everyday , I wonder what is scarier, not seeing any cases recorded or not having any cases?
Some people have mentioned that black people have melanin which absorbs heat and is able to kill the virus, some have said that , its because of our weather patterns . Our very own Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, a 61 year old Zimbabwean politician, who is the current Minister of Defence in the Cabinet of Zimbabwe has been recorded saying ,“Coronavirus is the work of God punishing countries that imposed sanctions on us. They are now keeping indoors. Their economies are screaming just like they did to ours. Trump should know that he is not God.”
Is she right? Is this the work of God?
I can safely confirm that Covid 19 affects anyone irregardless of colour. A U.K based Zinbabwean named Taurai was recently confined seeking prayers from Mai TT and has fully recovered from it. This morning, the number of people infected in South Africa has steadily rose to 85, 14 of the cases being local transmissions. Confirmed is a mother and child in grade R in Richards Bay, SouthAfrica. The mother works at a local bank dealing with foreign customers coming in for foreign exchange. They have been succefully quarantined but known people who have been in contact with them have also tested positive. What about those people that sat next to her in the public transport. the shop she passed by to buy bread before quarantine ? Do you see the chain? Should I mention the number of cross border traders that move to and fro the borders importing goods for resale.
Amidst the international and internet chaos, if you move around Zimbabwe, you’ll literally think that you are in an island far away from the maddening Corona Virus disaster. I’m left wondering if the worst is yet to come or for once in our life,we are to be exempted from the terror flying around the globe? I went to all the shops in my town and found no hand sanitizers. Actually, I felt a little bit mad looking for one as no one seems to care . I almost felt like this craziness is all in my head. I hope we will not be caught unawares.
Prevention is better than cure . Please take this time to educate kids about the virus, teach them to wash their hands thoroughly . We are still in the oranges season and we can take advantage of that by eating lots and lots of these since they have vitamin c. Lemons also are a good substitute to milk when having tea. If you haven’t been exercising , maybe this is the right time to start. Eat plenty of vegetables and self quarantine yourself.
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