In March, President Mnangagwa declared the first 21-day lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The President said all citizens would be required to stay at home, except essential movements to seek health services, buy food, medicines, other essentials and critical services.

Only civil servants on duty, in line with decisions and directives of the public service commission, heads of ministries and the ad-hoc taskforce on Covid-19, were allowed unrestricted movement.

Funerals were exempted from the directive but with no more than 50 mourners, visits to clinics and hospitals were restricted to one visitor per patient per day, while motorists seeking fuel were not allowed to leave their vehicles.

The army was deployed alongside civilian authorities to ensure strict compliance to the shutdown.

Life as we knew it would never be the same. At household level, to the national budget, the new motto was “adapt or die”.

Mitigatory interventions covering both prevention and support to productive sectors included fiscal resource mobilisation which saw Treasury avail over $100 million in the fight against Covid-19.

Capital expenditure allocations under the 2020 National Budget were redirected towards health-related expenditures, including water supply and sanitation programmes.

It was the beginning of tough times but now the country is beginning to adjust again.

Government has announced the extension of operating hours for businesses from 6.30AM to 6.30PM and is also working on reopening the Victoria Falls International Airport following the relaxation of travel restrictions.

In a media briefing on Monday following a meeting of the Ad-hoc Inter Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the economy is being gradually opened up.

“Additionally, as part of gradually opening the economy, Government has extended operating hours for the retail, wholesale and service businesses from 8am-4.30pm to 6.30am-6.30pm.

“My fellow Zimbabweans, as we gradually open the economy, we need to remember that we are doing this while taking all necessary precautions to fight the invisible enemy, Covid-19.

“The easing of lockdown restrictions is not an indication that we have defeated this pandemic, but we are a nation seeking to balance between our economic interests and the protection of life,” she said.

The point that Covid-19 has not been defeated cannot be overemphasised. So as the country begins to adjust again to normal working hours and the reopening of schools — albeit for examination classes only — citizens must remain responsible.

If Covid-19 cases begin to go up, Government will be forced to review its decisions and further tighten regulations.

Social distancing, wearing of face masks and sanitisation remain critical Covid-19 prevention measures which must be adhered to at all times.

Face masks in particular, must be worn properly at all times. There is a tendency by members of the public to let down their masks only to pull them up in the presence of police officers or when entering business premises.

The World Health Organisation points out that homemade masks become less effective if they are not used in conjunction with other Covid-19 prevention measures like social distancing and hygiene.

We will never get tired of reminding our readers on the importance of Covid-19 prevention measures.

Covid-19 can be defeated, only when we all play our part in being responsible.