Zimbabwe: Nation Heeds Directive to Stay Home

31 March 2020

Zimbabweans yesterday largely heeded the call to stay home as part of the 21-day lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.

In Harare, movement in the central business district (CBD) was minimal, with police patrolling the streets and encouraging the few people that were roaming the streets to go back home and stay there.

Roadblocks were mounted on all major roads leading into the central business district, with police checking on the number of passengers in vehicles and public transport.

A long queue of vehicles, at one point stretching for about 3km, was witnessed along Seke Road as police rigorously checked on why people were travelling.

The popular Mbare Musika vegetable market was briefly opened before the police ordered its closure.

Police used a public address system to urge people to stay at their homes.

Most companies were closed except for those providing essential services.

Movements in residential areas were high, especially at boreholes and liquefied gas points of sale.

Supermarkets were open and closed in the afternoon in line with the Government directive. At most service stations fuel was available and there were short queues.

In Masvingo, only major supermarkets such as OK Zimbabwe, N Richards and some food courts were open. Police maintained a heavy presence in the CBD and other major roads leading into the city centre while others patrolled suburban areas.

In Beitbridge, travellers and residents complied with the national response plan. All busy business centres, markets and traders had scaled down operations while others closed shop on Sunday.

At Mashavire, Mashakada, Engen, Ha Mbedzi and Ha Mangavha there were no people.

Market stalls and bars were closed and only grocery shops were open with few clients.

The police were patrolling most business centres.

There was limited movement of people through the border except for cargo traffic and customs clearing agents who are facilitating regional and international trade.

The Assistant Regional Immigration Officer in charge of Beitbridge (Zimbabwe), Mr Nqobile Ncube said: "We are working together with other security agents and our security guards who are strategically positioned to screen traffic and enforce compliance.

"There is not much traffic that is coming through. It is pleasing to note that word has got to everyone and people are observing a high level of compliance with the ongoing measures to contain this pandemic."

In Mutare, traffic was low in the CBD with big supermarkets serving few customers. Vegetable and flea markets as well as bus terminuses were deserted.

Mutare Provincial Hospital was attending to a few walk in patients while maintaining the one-visitor-per-patient rule. There were police roadblocks along all roads leading into the city centre.

In Marondera, traffic was low with big supermarkets serving few customers who were religiously abiding with the social distancing rule. Market places and bus terminuses were deserted.

Police were patrolling the town with roadblocks along all roads leading into the city centre.

Human traffic was low in Gweru with heavy police presence in the CBD. All chain supermarkets were open.

Police was turning away pedestrians and motorists who failed to produce valid documents and reasons for getting into the CBD.

Chinhoyi town was largely deserted with police and prison officers in patrol. Social distancing and temperature testing was also being observed at retail shops that opened doors at 9am.

In Kariba, people heeded the call to stay at home with only a few going to major shops to buy foodstuffs and other essentials.

All other shops, businesses and vegetable markets were closed with police patrolling the streets in Nyamhunga and Mahombekombe suburbs. Roads in the middle and low density suburbs of Heights, Mica Point and Camphill were virtually empty.

Boats were docked at several harbours in Lake Kariba.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa urged citizens to continue adhering to lockdown guidelines.

"The taskforce noted that in general Zimbabweans have taken heed to the order to stay at home," said the minister.

"The security services have been in the streets monitoring and enforcing the lockdown order. We encourage citizens to continue adhering to the guidelines set for the lockdown."

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