AS more areas turned into COVID-19 hotspots and the number of the pandemic casualties kept on soaring, it became evident that a comprehensive countrywide lockdown, as declared by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday, June 29, would become inevitable.

This followed intensified lockdown measures which barred all social and religious gatherings, except funerals, announced by Health and Child Care Minister Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga two weeks earlier

The enhanced Level Four national lockdown, effective from Wednesday, June 30, tries to further limit these gatherings.

At the same time, the measures remain conscious of the need to keep the economy ticking.

That the pandemic casualties are surging is supported by grim statistics.

As many as 3 882 cases were recorded last week alone, with 1 239 recorded the previous week.

This is an alarming surge.

The 213 percent increase recorded in one week, should have been enough to send a cold shiver down the health authorities’ spines.

On Wednesday alone this week, 1 331  new cases were recorded.

There were 28 deaths on the same day, let alone the cumulative total of over 1 700 since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Perhaps, if people hear of the number of deaths from this raging virus, the message might sink home more effectively.

The Government would then be forced not to sit idly by as the pandemic threatens to decimate the population.

After all, Zimbabwe is known for its leading role in the fight against the COVID-19 menace.

The country is, therefore, duty bound to maintain the positives.

For a start, the World Health Organisation protocols that include washing hands, proper wearing of masks and social distancing must remain a given.

And, of course, sanitising of hands and temperature checking remain an integral part of this routine.

Key to efforts to stop the spread of this virus is the need for people to stay home. 

That is why the lockdown measures imposed on Tuesday require more people to work from home, thereby decongesting the workplace.

The limiting of business hours from 8am to 3:30pm ensures that people are at their workplaces only when it is necessary.

Otherwise they have to spend most of their time at home.

This is further guaranteed by the curfew from 6:30pm to 6am.

The curfew denies those who want to socialise, probably at their drinking joints, the luxury to do so. 

Time for loitering and venturing into mischief under cover of darkness is very much curtailed.

ZESA can help make time at home more pleasant by solving their power problems, thereby avoiding load shedding .

A sure way of limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus is through vaccination.

The efficacy of the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines has been verified by WHO.

And these jabs are being offered for free.

But there are some malcontents, who have decided to politicise the process.

Without any scientific explanation, to discourage people from taking these jabs just because they are from China is outright madness.

That is why we are in full support of the idea of making vaccination compulsory.

This is especially so for those who work with the public.

We are pleased to note that, on its part, the Government is trying its best to ensure availability of vaccines. 

Already, with the assurance of a constant supply, there will be no shortages within the foreseeable future. 

The current enhanced Level Four national lockdown will be reviewed after two weeks.

We can help realise the relaxation of the restrictive measures.

The ball is in our court.

Meanwhile, we expect those tasked to monitor compliance not to hesitate to bring culprits to book.

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