In line with other countries, the Zimbabwean government has instituted a national 3-week lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, a respiratory disease.
The president of the country, Emmerson Mnangagwa, announced the lockdown on Friday, saying:
“All citizens are required to stay at home, with the exception of those seeking health services, buying food, medicine and vital supplies, and those manning our essential services.”
The coronavirus disease is coming at a time Zimbabweans are already struggling with a huge economic crisis that has caused food prices to soar, water shortages to be prevalent, and daily power blackouts a common thing. It can be recalled that the World Food Programme, in December 2019, warned that Zimbabwe was facing a huge hunger crisis, with about half of her population experiencing food insecurity.
At the eve of the start of the lockdown, hundreds of citizens could be seen queuing at a Miller’s building in the capital city of Zimbabwe, waiting to buy mealie meal, a maize derivative. One of the citizens made this comment, “We know there is corona[virus] in the country, but we will die of hunger first if we don’t get mealie meal.”
More so, many Zimbabweans depend on daily income generated from doing menial jobs to survive. Under this lockdown, these ones are severely at risk of hunger, if nothing drastic is done to salvage the situation.
It is indeed a hard time for the world.