Lockdowns should be tailored to suit each country. African governments and those particularly in the third world cannot copy and paste lockdown templets from the developed and more economically able nations.
Indeed, most countries around the world are implementing measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, with measures such as introducing self quarantine, mass publicity drives to raise awareness of the risks and dangers of COVID-19 and sharing preventive measures to national quarantines and even school closures.
A third of the planet’s population is now under some form of restrictions, as leaders react and respond to this global pandemic.
However, the important question to ask right now is are lockdowns the only solution? I would argue that lockdowns are being championed as the best solution in developed countries, but may not work as well for the third world and Zimbabwe is one of those countries which I think will face even greater challenges because the political leadership in Zimbabwe seem devoid of strategy and someone has to remind them that they can not simply copy the methods of the rich and resourceful developed nations. It’s akin to trying to live a Champagne life on a Mazoe budget.
Zimbabwe needs to take into serious consideration that it is not only a developing country, but a country that has been in some serious economic doldrums for a very long time, far before COVID-19 even started.
Zimbabwe must be told that lockdowns in developing countries where crowded cities and slums are present could see the virus spread “like fire.”
While The World Health Organisation has indeed, been calling on all nations to continue efforts that have been effective in limiting the number of cases and slowing the spread of the virus, such as lockdowns as seen in China and other countries in Europe. It would be wise to learn that each country tailored their response based on the resources available to them. The template is not homogeneous but somewhat heterogeneous.
“Lockdown” isn’t a technical term used by public-health officials, it can refer to anything from mandatory geographic quarantines to non-mandatory recommendations to stay at home, closures of certain types of businesses, or bans on events and gatherings. The issue of concern with regards Zimbabwe is that the focus of government will now be on enforcing a lockdown with brutal force. This means the security forces/ the army may use up more resources and chances are they will maim and even kill members of the public in the of process enforcing the shutdown as opposed to fighting the virus.
The Zimbabwean government can not ignore the plight of its citizenry caused predominantly by corruption and misrule.
The people are impoverished, water supply and sanitation are at an all time low. Electricity supplies are erratic. Food supplies are problematic at best and as such many people have been surviving from hand to mouth. They scrounge for the next day’s meal by working today.
Those in government must also understand, that for people in our most crowded residential places, citizens just don’t want to be cooped up inside.
Most families share two rooms or just a room— and it’s hard to enforce such a policy for millions of people, especially when some curfews and lockdowns would require them to be indoors day and night.
So many will defy the 21 day lockdown.
Mother’s will have to find water at the boreholes which have become the constant water source in many urban cities.
Fathers will have to hunt for firewood given the constant electricity cuts.
Did anyone in government consider all these present daily challenges in face of a lockdown and how this may impact the already hard pressed citizens?
A 21 day lockdown will not magically revive Zimbabwe’s collapsed health delivery system. The government must not for a moment think that this will wipe away COVID-19. There will still be a lot more to do after the lockdown.
The problem, though, is that Zimbabwe is probably already there. “Community transmission has started,” we have already had a casualty the death of young broadcaster Zororo Makamba.
An outbreak would surely test our capacity and given what we have seen so far we have little to no capacity if we are being honest with ourselves.
Mnangagwa’s lockdown may put a brief pause on the coronavirus spread in Zimbabwe, now, but the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better, it’s a shame the army cannot fight the virus using guns and brute force. Indeed, more was invested in the military at the expense of the Health sector.