Maputo — The government of the central Mozambican province of Manica is looking into the possibility of dividing the work force in public institutions into two groups, and asking them to work in shifts, as a form of social distancing in order to prevent the spread of the respiratory disease Covid-19.
Under current circumstances, offices in the public administration are cramped, and cannot allow employees to work at the safe distance of at least a metre from each other. So the proposal is to divide the state employees into a morning and an afternoon shift.
This, it is believed, will allow them to work in a safe environment, and to serve citizens without any risk of contamination by the coronavirus.
The Secretary of State for Manica, Edson Macuacua, made the proposal in the provincial capital, Chimoio, during a provincial meeting assessing the implementation so far of measures against the spread of Covid-19.
"We're raising this possibility of working in shifts, because we have some state institutions where the space is small and there are a lot of people", said Macuacua. "We want the staff, in the work place, to comply with all the measures to prevent the disease. The measure will be implemented as from next week. We don't want workers exposed to a risky environment, because they could then take the virus home".
"We can divide into two groups. Some would work in the morning until 12.00, and others would work in the afternoon", he said. Alternatively workers could come in one day, and then take the next day off.
"The important thing", Macuacua stressed, "is to guarantee that they work in an environment of greater safety".
He added that, in addition to the public institutions, the government has been working in the communities, with community and religious leaders, to spread the message about the danger of Covid-19.
In the Manica districts that border Zimbabwe, Macuacua continued, the government is urging citizens not to cross the border "except in cases of extreme need". Groups are being formed in the border districts to spread information about the disease and prevention measures, and the provincial government is undertaking similar action in the markets and the road transport terminals.
"Our appeal is that everyone should be responsible and look after their own health. The government is making efforts, but it is crucial that we all know about the danger of the disease", he said. "Follow the instructions given by the health authorities and prevent the disease from spreading".
Macuacua called for strong inspection of trading activity to prevent price speculation. Traders, he insisted, should not regard the pandemic as an opportunity to fleece their customers.
"We are in an emergency situation. We cannot turn this moment into an occasion for stealing from the public", he insisted. "I know we are running out of some products, But we must show a spirit of solidarity".