Vendors in Bulawayo have warned the government that if the situation at popular vegetable markets in the City of Kings is not addressed, it will lead to a COVID-19 mass infection catastrophe as they said containment measures at the markets are not being followed, The Chronicle report.
Vendors that spoke to the publication, said there was no sanitisation being done at the markets and people were moving around without wearing masks and social distancing was not being followed. A vendor that spoke to the publication said:
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I come here every morning to buy fresh produce for resale and what you are seeing is a daily norm. We have people who are impatient and each time they are here, they want to jump queues resulting in everyone shoving and pushing of each other. There is no social distancing and it appears people are more worried about making money at the expense of their own lives
Another vendor that spoke to the publication also said:
Market places have become hotspots for Covid-19 because there is just too much crowding and some people are not even properly wearing their masks making it easy for the virus to spread. The problem is that everyone is only worried about their own business of the day and adhering to Covid-19 regulation is a secondary issue. Most of us just want buy and leave the market place as early as possible so that we are able board Zupco before peak hour.
Yet another vendor lamented how the public was ignoring social distancing and said:
Of course, it is worrying to come here and join these long queues where there is no social distancing. We mingle with each other yet we don’t even know who has the virus, but at the end of the day I have to take care of my family,
Another vendor said people only adhered to COVID-19 containment measures in the face of law enforcement agents:
It appears we have some people who only adhere to the Covid-19 regulations whenever there is a police officer or soldier in the vicinity. A lot of people here do not pay much attention to the principle of social distancing and you find some shaking hands
When contacted for comment, City of Bulawayo Health Director Dr Edwin Sibanda said:
We suspect that markets could be the new Covid-19 hotspot in the city. We are now in the process of formulating a strategy of testing people in some of these hotspots and see whether we get positive cases to confirm that they are indeed hotspots
Zimbabwe has recorded 4000+ COVID-19 cases which included 81 deaths since the first case was recorded on 20 March 2020.