Lockdown without massive screening won’t work: MDC

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The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance has said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 21-day national lockdown will not succeed in curbing the spread of COVID-19 if it is not supported by a proactive response mechanism that include massive screening for the deadly virus.

By Precious Chida

The opposition party’s secretary for health and former Health minister Henry Madzorera said the lockdown should be supported by the availability of critical goods and services such as mealie-meal and water so that residents would not queue at boreholes and shops.

“We have a good technical document on the preparedness and response plan, but implementation is close to zero,” Madzorera said in a statement.

“We are ignoring the actions that will make this lockdown meaningful and effective.

“Simply noting that Zimbabweans are complying with the lockdown order does not translate into halting the epidemic, hence government must investigate all suspects, identify cases, isolate and treat cases, and do thorough contact tracing then we may succeed in halting the spread of COVID-19.”

Madzorera urged the government to eliminate the shortage of basic commodities as a matter of urgency as the scarcity was undermining the lockdown efforts.

“Our people are very compliant with the terms of the lockdown, but the government has not planned for the poor, those who live on hand-to-mouth daily budgets and those without adequate supplies of potable water,” Madzorera said.

“You cannot confine a hungry man; we are beginning to see chaotic scenes at shops now, almost about to degenerate into riots because everybody wants the staple food.

“There is not enough to go around and yet the crowding and jostling for mealie-meal that we are seeing at shops is fertile ground for rapid spread of COVID-19. Our people understand that but now, they are being forced by government to choose between death from COVID-19 or death from hunger and most people would rather take their chance with COVID-19.”

He added: “Let us investigate all community deaths. There are reports of unexplained community deaths where ordinary citizens suspect COVID-19, but these deaths are not being investigated. This has the potential of giving us false statistics, and it becomes a time bomb waiting to explode.”

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