Doctors have condemned the enforcement of the current 30 day lockdown saying it will not help in reducing the spread of COVID-19 due to loopholes observed on the first day.
In a statement, Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) said the current lockdown measures announced by government, though welcome, may not provide the much-needed impact in breaking the COVID-19 chain of transmission and help in flattening the COVID 19 curve.
“In a snap survey conducted by ZADHR on the 1st day of the lockdown, many non-essential retailers were in operation across the country. Additionally, human traffic was witnessed at the country borders and in inter-provincial travels.”
ZADHR added that there are too many loopholes on the proposed letters of travel authorization process with reports that some retailers were being granted exemption letters to operate in unclear circumstances.
“We reiterate that the scientific basis of a lockdown is predicated upon limiting most if not all human movement for a period of 14 to 21 days. Furthermore, the government must identify provincial hotspots and have tailored measures or different levels of the lockdown depending on the incidence of COVID-19.
“Interprovincial travel must be URGENTLY limited and COVID 19 certificates may be considered for all local travel from all COVID-19 hotspots,” ZADHR added.
The organization lamented the continued influx of travelers through air when the country is faced with an existential threat of new strains of COVID-19 from South Africa and the UK.
ZADHR said the government could have acted proactively and timeously before the festive season to curb movement from both within and outside Zimbabwe.
“With countries like the United Kingdom and South Africa dealing with the vicious new COVID-19 variant and the high numbers of travelers during the festive season from these two countries, stricter measures were supposed to have been put in place prior to the holidays,” the organization said.
ZADHR also encouraged the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) and all relevant stakeholders to utilize the lockdown to equip schools with necessary materials and equipment to curb COVID-19 transmission in schools.
“Treasury must urgently avail the necessary resources to MoPSE and ensure the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Safe Re-opening of Schools are implemented expeditiously”
ZADHR warned the government against excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests or detention, torture or any other cruel or inhumane treatment for those breaching lockdown regulations.