21-day lockdown not punishment, says Mnangagwa

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By Idah Mhetu

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says the 21-day national lockdown imposed by his government as one of its measures to combat the spread of coronavirus should not be viewed as a form of punishment on them by authorities.

He was speaking during his National Address at State House on Monday evening on the first day of a continuous period declared by his administration to try and arrest what is feared could be rapid spread of Covid-19 in a country with a fragile health system.

Mnangagwa said the move by government will help save thousands of lives and urged Zimbabweans to observe the recommended precautionary measures to prevent the disease spread.

“This 21-day lockdown is not a punishment; it cannot be avoided. It is an opportunity to save thousands of lives,” said Mnangagwa.

“We will achieve this by being responsible and by staying at home, by washing your hands and by keeping at least two metres distance from one another.

“I want you to spend the next 21 days acting as if you already have the virus, as if you are a carrier.

“Would you want to infect your friends? Would you want to infect your families? Of course not. So, keep your distance. At least 2 metres.”

Mnangagwa Friday declared the country was going on a 21-day total shutdown as part of measures to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus which has so far claimed one life out of seven confirmed cases recorded inside a week.

But many locals who depend on daily income as a form of livelihood are up in arms with authorities for allegedly failing to consider their unique economic circumstances when coming up with the drastic measure.