Government further tightens gathering and movement regulations.

…as second COVID-19 patient TV personality Zororo Makamba dies

By Lynette Manzini

The death of the first COVID-19 patient in Zimbabwe has led government to tighten movement and gathering regulations in and out of the country in a bid to contain the spread of the virus that has since affected about three hundred thousand people across the globe.

The minister of health and child care Dr Obadiah Moyo announced the death of media personality Zororo Makamba (30) son of yesteryear top disc jockey,politician and businessman James Makamba who succumbed to COVID-19 last Monday. It is reported that he had visited about two night clubs after his return from New York last week. However, contact tracing of all the people he came in contact with is underway.The death of Makamba reduces the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients to one and has dimystified the misconception that the younger generation is not susceptible to the virus.

During a press conference on Monday President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the banning of non essential travelling- a shift from a persuasive position to enforcement. Although the president did not further elaborate the characteristics of essential travelling, social media was awash with discontent over his attendance to an inaguration ceremony of the recently elected president of Namibia at a time the country’s fragile health system is exposed to the deadly virus.

“While our borders remain open to essential traffic both in the interest of our economy and that of corresponding economies of our region, we have decided to ban non essential travel and trafficking both inbound and outbound except the movement of cargo. Governement will close all our borders to human traffic, however, this will not affect returning residents,” Mnangangwa said.

Despite announsing a strict 21 day quarantine for returning residents Mnangagwa who walked out spoting a mask which he removed before addressing jornalists is not self isolating like his Botswana counterpart who also attended the inauguration in Namibia. Mnangangwa visibily shook hands with government officials after the press conference at such a time the World Health Organisation is discouraging shaking of hands as one of the mechanisms to minimise spread of the virus.

The current move to tighten movement by the government is preceded by the total shutdown imposed by the Rwandan governement which restricts non essental movements outside the home except for health care and grocery shopping, in addition Rwanda has closed borders except to returning residents, citizens and cargo.The measures remain in force for 14 days.

Furthermore, Mnagangwa has reduced the number of people permitted to gather from 100 to 50 and has banned social and recreational activities..

“Families are encouraged to postpone non essential travel additionally, unnecesaary movement beyond homes including social visits to relatives and friends should be avoided”.

“Ban of entertainment and recreational services with immediate effect- government has put a blanket ban on gatherings around nightclubs, bars, beerhalls, movie houses, swimming pools, gymnasiums and sporting activities until further notice,” he added.

The government has not imposed bans on informal markets but has encouraged limited visits to the market which will be closely monitored by health and military personnel. In addition, transport operators have been encouraged to comply the public health measures by screening passengers and occasional dis contaminating operations targeting public vehicles and depots.