Anguished Zimbabweans urge govt preparedness for coronavirus

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By Ndatenda Njanike

ORDINARY Zimbabweans have pleaded with government to put in place adequate measures to prevent the possible outbreak and further spread of coronavirus in the wake of rising infections in neighbouring South Africa.

Speaking in separate street interviews with NewZim TV Wednesday, anguished locals feared for their lives in the possibility of an outbreak.

Zimbabweans felt government was not prepared to face a health disaster that has killed thousands in China and parts of the world.

Some felt President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Tuesday decision to ban public gatherings as a preventive measure was good but said more could be done by authorities to tighten the situation.

Among the measures that could be taken, they said, was a stop in illegal cross-border activities by people from the South African side.

“I think it is a good measure the president has done to ban gatherings since it assures that the virus is not spreading rapidly.

“However, the government should deal with border jumpers who are entering the country from outside especially from South Africa since these people are entering without being tested for the virus,” said one Pauline Dube, a vendor operating at the Fourth Street bus terminals.

Others also felt government could increase the number of ZUPCO buses to ensure that people were not forced to travel on crowed buses.

Tapiwa Tamai, a Budiriro resident, also felt that long periods endured by passengers waiting for buses at various termini was among factors that created conditions for the spread of coronavirus.

“Government should add more ZUPCO buses since the termini are other places where people are gathering in large numbers waiting for buses, but if the buses are increased in number, the queues will be reduced.”

However, speaking in an interview with Wednesday, Zupco Chief Executive officer Everisto Madangwa said the public transporter will now be stricter in ensuring company buses carried recommended numbers of passengers.

“We will also limit the number of people in a bus; 75 people will be allowed to sit, and a bus will now only be allowed to carry not more than 21 passengers standing.

“This is also another was of preventing the spread of Coronavirus,” Madangwa said.