This week the city of Harare declared the capital city to be the Covid-19 hotspot after hundreds of people tested positive in a single day. One area that was highlighted as needing urgent attention was Mbare Musika as well as other vegetable markets including in Bulawayo. At these market no social distancing is observed and often people don’t put on their masks properly while using cash. According to the government a significant number of people from Mbare have tested positive for the virus.
Now the government has introduced several measures meant to curb the spread of coronavirus at these markets. These measures include:
- Vegetable markets will now only operate for 6 days a week. During the other remaining day (probably Sunday) the markets will be closed for fumigation
- Market bays will be restructured so that they adhere to Covid-19 protocols this probably means less vendors per bay as well as having customers wait in line. This will be very hard to enforce. Lots of markets have not been repaired since the early 2000s. Some stalls don’t even have bays.
- Vendors must exercise extreme caution which includes consistent washing of hands with soap and running water plus use of sanitisers.
- Information education campaign to be conducted for vendors to promote a new normal. This will be very useful as a lot of people are now treating the disease as some sort of hoax.
- Cabinet has also directed that public & private hospitals admit patients without the pre-requirement for a prior Covid-19 test result and to that end hospitals must establish Patient Under Investigation zones to ensure no patients are turned away. This means there is no longer the need for you to be from a specific address in order to be admitted into a hospital for example. This is because a lot of hospitals have closed/curtailed their operations for one reason or another so there might not even be a hospital in your area.