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Weary Bulawayo Residents Defy Lockdown, Trickle Into CBD

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By Bulawayo Correspondent


THE central business district (CBD) of Bulawayo Tuesday resembled an almost normal working day as scores of residents defied the government’s COVID-19 extended lockdown.

Last Sunday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the extension of a 21-day COVID-19 lockdown by another two weeks as the country fights to contain the spread of the pandemic which has so far seen 28 confirmed cases and three deaths.

In his statement, Mnangagwa reiterated all citizens should stay at home, except for those offering essential services as well as those seeking health services, purchase food, medication and other critical services.

However, there were more people in the CBD than had been the situation in the initial 21 days of the lockdown.

Most of the residents who made their way into the city centre were apparently on a mission to replenish food reserves while some non-food selling shops, such as photocopier operators and hair salons, were open.

Illegal money changers were also conducting their business at the usual trading places but kept a close look for the police and army.

“I need to feed my family brother. I cannot stay at home for more than three weeks without coming to work. Right now my landlord is demanding her rent and I need to raise that rent,” said a money changer who asked not to be identified.

The money trader said she had managed to evade two roadblocks manned by the police and army in order to get into town.

Most of the people are evading the soldiers and police checkpoints by disembarking from ZUPCO buses before the roadblocks and walk into town.

Long and winding queues were also observed at banks and money transfer agencies.

However, social distancing and sanitation processes were being adhered to at most of the places where the people were queuing for services.