Byo residents call for a strict response mechanism as Covid-19 cases spike

Bulawayo residents have called for a strict response mechanism to deal with the spiralling Covid-19 infections in the city.

The second-largest city has become the epicentre of the pandemic in the country with 525 confirmed cases and 12 deaths, as of July 20, 2020.

So far 103 291 (61 351 Rapid Diagnostic Tests and 41 940 Polymerase chain reaction) tests have been conducted countrywide.

The bulk of the cases are as a result of local transmissions and the residents say there is need for the government to scale up testing in order to control the spread of the pandemic.

“Cases are on the rise because there is inadequate testing leading to the current rise in local transmissions, as it is, we do not know who has the virus and who doesn’t meaning everyone is danger to the other,” Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) Gender Officer, Abigail Siziba said.

“Local Covid-19 transmission cases are rising rapidly in Bulawayo and there is an immediate need for rapid response mechanisms such as testing and equipping the Isolation centers and increasing security at quarantine centers to ensure those who are infected are kept under strict isolation.”

The city is faced with a shortage of quarantine centres, with the three centres currently being used – Khumalo Hotel, Insinga and Standard Hotel – likely to be oversubscribed as the number of returnees coming back to the city said to be on the increase.

The Covid-19 provincial taskforce told CITE that they are likely to request the use of schools as quarantine centres.

Meanwhile, Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (BURA) chairperson Winos Dube urged residents to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines.

“The enforcement of a tougher lockdown should start at individual level, residents should learn to follow Covid-19 guidelines to protect themselves and those closer to them,” said Dube.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) Vice President, Dr Brian Mbanje said to flatten the Covid-19 curve there is a need to practice social distancing and avoid overcrowded places.

“Of recent, proper social distancing hasn’t been practiced. People have been crowding to secure basic commodities in town, crowding to get Zupco transport,” said Dr Mbanje.

“Washing hands with clean water hasn’t been possible because of water rationing and the supply of infected water to communities.

“Families would rather buy food to eat than hand sanitizers because the majority have been making a living from hand to mouth. Unemployment rate is more than 80 percent.”

Dr Mbanje said at this point of time the government must do more to protect the lives of people.

“In essence, both the citizenry and the government have not done their best to flatten the curve but at this point in time, the government has to do more to protect the lives of Zimbabweans because it is the one responsible for providing clean water, making basic commodities affordable for everyone and creating jobs for the citizens,” he said.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)

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