By Leopold Munhende
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa on Monday urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to place Zimbabwe under lockdown including banning all incoming international flights with immediate effect.
His call came a few hours after the global pandemic claimed its first Zimbabwean victim in journalist Zororo Makamba, son to Zanu PF member and businessman James Makamba.
Addressing journalists at his party’s Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House head office, Chamisa said the shortcomings within the country’s health system were indicators that the government should put more effort in fighting the coronavirus.
“We need to take extraordinary measures. It has been brought to my attention that the state of our health institutions is grossly inadequate, protective clothing for nurses and health personnel on the frontline is inadequate, our hospitals are short staffed, we have no medicine,” he said.
“Generally our level of preparedness is inadequate and appalling. Taking into account this level of inadequacy, we are now advising the population to take extreme circumstances with extreme approaches.
“It is my humble submission that the country starts implementing a systematic lockdown, a process which is time marked to make sure that we as a leadership take the necessary precautionary measures to also boost up our capacity, our preparedness and of course attend to infrastructural deficiencies that we have to attend to.
“We must stop all overseas flights into Zimbabwe with immediate effect. We need all visitors from high risk countries to be put in some kind of mandatory quarantine for a particular period subject to testing and also make sure mechanisms are put in place if there is need for treatment.”
He called for a limit in the number of passengers using public transport.
“We need to limit the number of passengers on our buses, encourage Zimbabweans to avoid gatherings and getting into town. We call on mobile network operators and internet service providers to give cheaper services to institutions, personalities and individuals to conscientise people.
“We call on government to consider tax rebates and waive duties to enable philanthropists to bring support, protective clothing, hand sanitisers that are now in short supply over a short period of time.”
The opposition leader also called on employers to initiate virtual systems and avoid face to face or physical interaction.