Zimbabweans begin life under coronavirus lockdown

Zimbabwe went into full coronavirus lockdown for three weeks on Monday, coming 10 days after confirming its first case.

Police on Sunday mounted roadblocks and the government said the military will step in, if necessary, to enforce the stay-at-home order.

Meanwhile, hundreds of healthcare professionals are already refusing to work because they say they don’t have the protective equipment.

Zimbabweans may face up to one year imprisonment for violating the order and up to 20 years for false reports about the lockdown.

So far the country has recorded seven cases of the virus, including one death.

Over the weekend, there were long queues outside banks and supermarkets as Zimbabweans prepared for the lockdown. Crowds gathered at bus stations, preparing to head back to their rural homes.

Almost all businesses and markets must shut down for the next 21 days.

Movement to buy food and medicines is limited to within a five kilometre radius of homes.

With seven recorded cases, the outbreak is not a crisis here yet. The tough action, which includes a ban on the sale of alcohol, was taken amid fears that if the coronavirus spreads the pandemic could devastate a broken health system.

There is an enormous sense of uncertainty about the weeks ahead. Most Zimbabweans are informal traders, surviving off daily earnings.

Without savings and no way to earn an income they face tough times ahead.

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