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Thousands flock to rural areas ahead of curbs countrywide

by Staff reporter
31 Mar 2021 at 06:30hrs | Views
AHEAD of the 21-day lockdown starting today to contain the spread of Covid-19, thousands of people yesterday thronged Mbare Musika bus rank in Harare and many other pick-up points seeking transport to various destinations in the rural areas, while others besieged supermarkets and shops in the cities and towns for groceries and other essentials they will need for the lockdown period.  

The lockdown, a principal measure announced by President Mnangagwa in his address to the nation on Friday, comes as the number of confirmed Covid-19 has risen to seven and claimed one life.  There were long queues in shops in Harare starting on Saturday as people stocked basics, despite a noticeable increase in prices on most products during the last few days.

It was also a hive of activity at Mbare Musika food market where people were buying fresh farm produce in preparation for the 21 days.  At Mbare Musika bus terminus, thousands of travellers chose to go to their rural areas to spend the lockdown with their relatives.  

At Mbudzi Roundabout illegal pick up point, hundreds of travellers were trying to catch any mode of transport to their various destinations.  At Showgrounds, hundreds of people were heading to various destinations, but those who spoke to The Herald indicated that they were travelling to their rural homes in the Midlands Province.

Along Second Street and Herbert Chitepo Avenue, a huge crowd was waiting for transport to areas in Mashonaland Central Province.  

"We want to spend the 21 days in our rural home in Muzarabani. My family will be back only if we are safe," said one of the commuters.  

Mrs Tendai Nhongo, who was waiting patiently in a long queue to fill her five-kilogramme gas tank at Trek Kambuzuma commended the President for taking measures to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.  

"We are taking heed of what the President has advised us to do, that is why you see a long queue here for gas," she said.   

Long queues could be seen at most service stations where motorists were refuelling. The lockdown and other measures announced by the President arise from reports and recommendations from an inter-ministerial taskforce on Covid-19 that he has set up.

Spelling out what the lockdown means recently, the President said: "This means all our citizens are required to stay at home, except of course in respect of essential movements related to seeking health services; to purchase and procurement of food and medicines and for the essential supplies and critical services.  

"Workers manning our essential services, including health services and outlets, emergency and security services, as well as operation of key utilities like power and water, are exempt from this directive."  

The President said he had directed the National Command Element to deploy as appropriate in support of civilian authority. 

Source - the herald

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