As the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the globe at alarming rage with its latest death toll standing over 13 000, multi-award-winning gospel hip-hop artist Mudiwa Hood nee Ian Mtandwa has appealed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to review the ban of all public gatherings in excess of 100 people.
On Tuesday last week, the Zimbabwean leader declared COVID-19 a national disaster and decreed a ban on weddings, church gatherings and foreign travels to countries worst affected by the rampaging disease.
Fears have arisen that some churches have not been observing the Presidential ban, with many calling for the introduction of severe quarantine measures and the cancellation of major public events in order to curb the infection.
Writing of his official twitter platform, Mudiwa called for a total ban of all gatherings and churches srvices in particular.
“I appeal to you your Excellence my beloved President @edmnangagwa to review the 100 people law ban on gatherings. I suggest a total BAN on all gatherings for now esp churches! Pple are now churching at home in numbers less than 100 bt technically these r 100 families represented,” (sic) he tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) said it would ensure President Mnangagwa’s decree ban on gatherings is religiously followed by conducting patrols, surveillance and checks to ensure compliance.
“In view of the coronavirus pandemic and the measures put in place by the government of Zimbabwe and ZRP will ensure that all government directives and regulations meant to step up the safety and security of citizens are prioritised,” the ZRP said in a statement.
The law enforcers said they were working closely with relevant arms of government and appeals for co-operation from members of the public.
A Monday report by Zimbabwe’s top paper, The Herald, established that most churches in Harare and Bulawayo yesterday heeded Government’s directive to suspend mass gatherings as part of measures to control and prevent the transmission of Covid-19.
A survey by the paper around Harare showed that churches such as Roman Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, Johanne Masowe eChishanu led by Madzibaba Steven Mugariri, Seventh Day Adventist, Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries, ZAOGA Forward in Faith, Guta Ramwari Zvimiso and Apostolic Faith Mission complied with the directive to reduce the number of congregants.
Albeit, a few churches defied the directive as the national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed getting reports of some churches that had more than 100 congregants.
Johanne Masowe eChishanu led by Madzibaba Ramey situated opposite Hopley, along Chitungwiza Road, reportedly had about 400 congregants.
Johanne Masowe eChishanu led by Madzibaba Stalin in Glen Norah close to Mbudzi Bus Terminus had over 300 congregants.
St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Mission located in Makokoba was business as usual, with congregants even queueing for Holy Communion.
Ass Comm Nyathi urged churches to comply with the Government’s directive and said those who were defaulting “will face the wrath of the law”.
Government spokesman Nick Mangwana warned people against flocking to church Sunday and even claimed that worshippers risked going to hell.
Zimbabwean schools are still open, signalling government thinking that the coronavirus is not yet spreading within the community.
At present, there is effectively no social distancing happening in Zimbabwe.
Supermarket queues persist with people standing in close proximity.
Buses and kombis remain cramped.
The Southern African country faces the grim prospect of failing to contain the coronavirus after it emerged yesterday that the country’s health professionals were yet to receive the requisite training and protective clothing to handle the pandemic. The Zimbabwe Nurses Association yesterday gave the government a 24-hour ultimatum to address their concern, failing which they would down their tools.
“Our concerns are genuine, the COVID-19 is a new disease and the current nurses have never learned about it. Our government is very slow in responding; the nurses have no information on the virus except reading the guideline on social media and newspapers. We are giving government 24 hours to address our concerns or else we will withdraw our services because we cannot put our members at risk,”
Zina president Enock Dongo told NewsDay.
According to a new study by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the highly contagious novel coronavirus can remain viable and infectious in droplets in the air for hours and on surfaces up to days.
The tests show that when the virus is carried by the droplets released when someone coughs or sneezes, it remains viable, or able to still infect people, in aerosols for at least three hours. On plastic and stainless steel, viable virus could be detected after three days. On cardboard, the virus was not viable after 24 hours. On copper, it took four hours for the virus to become inactivated.
In order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the World Health Organisation is advising people to follow the five simple steps of washing hands, coughing/sneezing into one’s elbow, not touching the face, staying more than 3ft (1m) away from others and staying home if one feels sick.
In the while, Zimbabwe has recorded its first case of COVID-19 death. Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo confirmed the death of Zororo Makamba (30) who was the second person to test positive to Covid-19 after travelling to the US.
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