By Ndatenda Njanike
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has raised alarm over the failure by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to carry out mass public tests for the deadly coronavirus during the current 21-day national lockdown period.
His comments came a day after the country recorded its third death from coronavirus in a 50 year-old man who died Wednesday at Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare.
A total of 11 coronavirus cases have been confirmed since March.
However, Chamisa said a disaster was looming in Zimbabwe due to the failure by the government to test citizens for COVID-19 and take necessary precautionary measures.
“A disaster is loading in Zimbabwe. Lives are at risk. We must invest on testing and tracking. A lockdown without testing, tracking and isolation is useless,” he said.
“Rwanda has tested over 1 500 people in two days and South Africa 68 000 so far. Zimbabwe has ‘tested’ 392 only over the past month. Leadership a necessity!”
Meanwhile, Tendai Biti, Vice President to Chamisa also chipped in saying the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed that Mnangagwa’s government lacked leadership skills and talent.
“COVID-19 has exposed the lack of leadership, lack of talent and lack of care on the part of men and women masquerading as government in the present day Zimbabwe,” Biti said.
“The first thing that is so key is to conduct tests, so it’s regrettable that to date only 400 tests have been conducted. Every other serious country has rolled out programmes of mass testing, countries like South Africa, Spain, China itself and the USA,” he said.
Biti said there was also need to provide citizens with safety nets in the form of food and cash handouts during the 21-day national lockdown.
“We need to provide safety nets to people particularly in a situation such as the current lockdown where 95% of the people are in the informal sector. They are unemployed, so it is difficult to implement a lockdown when you don’t have safety nets.”