MPILO Central Hospital clinical director Solwayo Ngwenya has proposed that the national lockdown be eased for a week to allow people to restock food supplies and then extend to August following a spike in coronavirus cases in Bulawayo and the country at large.
By Nizbert Moyo
Bulawayo is now a coronavirus hotspot after recording 10 cases out of the 23 in the country and one death out of the three.
Speaking to Southern Eye yesterday, Ngwenya said: “With the winter season of flu upon us, we face a quagmire. With the respite coming in August, options include continuing with the lockdown until August, but great pain and suffering to the population or partially lifting it with certain restrictions remaining in place but risk high damage,” he said.
Ngwenya said there would be a small risk of infections going up, but added that this would alleviate people’s suffering.
The medical expert warned that a complete removal of the lockdown would result in high death rates.
Government is yet to announce the way forward on the lockdown, which ends on Sunday night.
Ngwenya revealed that households were suffering from food shortages, and raised concern over the rising infections in the city which he blamed on failure to observe social distancing.
“People are partially complaining, adding that they still gather in crowded places jostling for mealie-meal and other basic commodities,” he said.
Bulawayo is facing chronic water shortages, forcing council to implement a 108-hour water-rationing schedule.
Concern has been raised over residents’ disregard of social distancing when collecting water brought by council bowsers.
Residents and authorities were recently sent into panic mode after a 52-year-old Mater Dei Hospital nurse who tested positive for coronavirus, allegedly contravened quarantine regulations by visiting Hillside Police Station after being advised by Bulawayo City Council health officials to self-isolate.
One of police officers who attended to her fell ill with flu-like symptoms after getting into contact with her.
At least eight police officers from the same station have been sent home as a precautionary measure.