Monday, 18 May 2020


DOCTORS have expressed surprise about Zimbabwe’s indefinite coronavirus lockdown, which they say is futile in the absence of an expanded testing and contact tracing programme for the disease, the Daily News reports.

This comes amid rising positive cases of coronavirus in the country, which experts believe thrives the most in winter — which is looming large.

The secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), Norman Matara, told the Daily News yesterday that the indefinite extension of the national lockdown was not backed by scientific information. 

“We are not quite sure of the reasons they are giving for extending the lockdown indefinitely because when it was announced there were targets which were supposed to be met, including massive testing and contact tracing. 

“However, all that has not been done … It is all guesswork because it was not based on any scientific model. “In the absence of massive testing, we really don’t see any reason for extending the lockdown,” Matara said. 

He also warned that without government providing safety nets for people in the informal sector, there was also now a risk of the country losing lives due to malnutrition-related deaths. 

“We have seen in the past a steady increase of cases of malnutrition, especially in children.
“We have heard from authorities that they will be assisting with money to the vulnerable groups, but up to now we have not seen anyone who has received it,” Matara added.

On his part, the secretary-general of the Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA), Arron Musara, said doctors were of the opinion that the government should have relaxed the lockdown further. 

“In terms of controlling Covid-19, I think we have made progress, hence the general feeling among doctors is that there was need to ease things more. 

“There is a risk that we will lose more people to other diseases that are not related to Covid-19,” he said.

 In extending the lockdown indefinitely at the weekend, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said while indications were that the country had a reduced corona trajectory, there was still need to ease out of the shutdown in a strategic and gradual manner, to maintain the positive momentum.

“Despite these many achievements in the implementation of the National Preparedness and Response Plan, the outbreak is not over, and our country still has some gaps.

“These gaps are being addressed in a targeted way, using a comprehensive Covid-19 preparedness and response strategy which takes into account risks and needs of different communities and populations.

“Zimbabwe will, therefore, continue on level two lockdown for an indefinite period. We shall have regular two-week interval reviews to assess progress or lack of it,” Mnangagwa said.

The national lockdown, which was to end at midnight today, was first put in place on March 30 — and had been extended twice before the weekend’s announcement. Daily News


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