MPs Demand End Of 6-Week Covid-19 Lockdown

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By Staff Reporter

CHAIRPERSON of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health Ruth Labode has called for an immediate end to the lockdown arguing any further restrictions would result in the crumbling of an already battered economy.

The government imposed Covid-19 restrictions six weeks ago, which saw most informal traders and non-essential close while only 10% of government employees are now reporting for work.

However, Labode said since the government had announced the Covid-19 vaccine would be rolled out soon, and in view of declining cases, it made economic sense to start easing the restrictions imposed last month at the onset of the second wave.

“Based on the current trend of the new cases spiralling downward, I would expect the government to remove the lockdown. The vaccine is almost here, the new cases are down so the lockdown must go now,’’ the MDC Alliance MP said.

She urged government to downgrade the country’s Covid-19 rating from Level 4 to a less severe Level 1 restriction.

The lawmaker said if the current Level 4 restriction was maintained, Zimbabwe would soon find itself dealing with serious malnutrition symptoms and high incidence of teenage pregnancies.

“We still need some quarantine centres for those who dare to border jump, produce fake Covid-19 certificates and for clinically ill individuals. Quarantine centres can now be reduced by 80%,” she said.

However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa this week said life can only return to a new normal when the majority of citizens are vaccinated against Covid-19. He expected to announce new measures this weekend as the gazetted lockdown days come to an next Monday.

Government reports say a donation of 200 000 doses and an additional 600 000 doses purchased are expected by Monday February 15 and the first week respectively. The government has also announced that frontline workers will be prioritised in the inoculation programme.