All political parties, public figures and even fringe groups must be responsible and avoid events with potential to spread Covid-19 during the lockdown, particularly as locally transmitted Covid-19 cases are on the rise, the Government said yesterday.
This follows social media messages calling for mass action.
Complacency is now seen as the major risk to public health. Zimbabwe on Wednesday recorded the single largest infections in a single day with 98 new cases. But 47 were local transmissions rather than being recorded among returning citizens and residents in quarantine centres.
This sharp rise in community infection opens serious risks since even a modest gathering could now include an infected person.
This is one reason why the public health authorities are being so insistent on strict enforcement of masking, hygiene, temperature testing and social distancing in all exempted areas under relaxations of the lockdown.
Addressing the media in Harare yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa warned against complacency at all levels, saying the consequences may be unpalatable.
“It is in view of this heightened increment in infection cases that I urge the public to continue to adhere to the lockdown regulations and practise preventative and protective behaviour. Government is urging each one of us against complacency,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
She said although Zimbabwe embraces democratic principles, calls for demonstrations may be ill-timed because of the ongoing pandemic.
“We are in the midst of an existential threat. Any political posturing is not helpful. We therefore call upon public figures and political players to act responsibly with the safety of Zimbabweans in mind.
Any call for mass action at this time is an unnecessary stoking of infection risk to the nation,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She added; “This country cannot afford adventurism in the midst of this threat to our very existence.”
There have been odd calls by leaders of fringe political parties like Jacob Ngarivhume and Noah Manyika for mass action end of this month.
Although they are unlikely to draw large numbers due to the stature of political outfits they lead, the conception of the idea in such times has drawn widespread criticism.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said Government will prioritise the lives of Zimbabweans over everything else.
“We are observing Covid-19 regulations and if anyone breaks the law they will be arrested because we are still under lockdown. Life is more important than everything else, life is more critical than anything that one can think of,” said Minister Kazembe.
Countries that have let their guard down in fighting Covid-19 have faced dire health consequences.
In Brazil, President air Bolsonaro was in denial and refused to institute any measures.
Bolsonaro has since tested positive and his country has recorded 1,72 million cases — more than the total population of Harare — with 68 055 deaths.
However, The Zimbabwe Republic Police has dismissed a fake letter which has been posted on the social media platforms indicating that Chief superintendent Smart Matongo, the Officer Commanding Harare Suburban District, had sanctioned a purported demonstration by Zimbabwe Anti-Sanction Allied Movement set for July 31, 2020, in Harare CBD and Westgate.
ZRP national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi in a statement said it is a forged letter with a fake signature which does not belong to the senior officer.
“Chief Superintendent Matongo does not command Harare Central District and as such cannot sanction demonstrations or activities in Harare CBD.
“The date stamp on the letter does not belong to chief Superintendent Matongo’s office,” he said.
In this regard, he said the ZRP dismisses the fake letter with the contempt which it deserves.
“In fact, no notification has been made to the relevant regulatory authority by Zimbabwe Anti-Sanction Allied Movement.
“The ZRP takes this opportunity to warn individuals and groups circulating fake or doctored messages on the social media platforms that they will be arrested. Investigations have been instituted on the source of the fake letter,” Nyathi said.