By Khumbulani Muleya
Covid-19 infections in Zimbabwe have reached new levels due to a cocktail of variants that keep emerging. This situation has put a huge burden on the health delivery system which was already overwhelmed beyond measure.
Variants such as Delta and Beta are the driving force behind the current aggressive third wave that has prompted the government to upgrade level four lockdown measures.
The coming of winter has not made the situation any better as the virus seems to be even more energetic and dangerous as can be evidenced by the startling daily Covid-19 statistics where thousands of new infections have become a common feature.
Surging Covid-19 statistics are driving many Zimbabweans deeper in to poverty at a time when the government has no financial legroom to give social grants and all it can do is to impose continuous restrictions on movement.
Just recently, and out of panic the government announced a ban on intercity travel as measure to curb the spread.
Along with it was a ban for people in Chitungwiza and Norton from coming to Harare, at a time when the majority of those people work in Harare.
According to secretary for information Nick Mangwana, the two dormitory towns fall under city status and only those providing essential service will be allowed to pass through the police barricades.
For the ordinary folk who are not essential service providers, this could signal the beginning of the most challenging times, as it is quite clear that there is no immediate end to the circle of lockdown measures and the emerging variants.
This is despite the fact that the government has rolled out a progressive vaccination program.
The vaccines are still investigational and no cure for any of the variants has been found yet as variants continue to win the race against vaccines on a global scale, however health officials continue to encourage people to be vaccinated while observing Covid protocols since the available vaccines are a measure to prevent hospitalization and death.
Though lockdowns are a necessity in controlling the spread of the virus concerned citizens have called on authorities to implement measures that are not drastic such as the recent ban on commuting between Chitungwiza and Harare as well as Norton and Harare.
The pandemic has been catastrophic on global economies it is yet to be seen how the government will handle the overwhelming crisis going forward without disrupting livelihoods any further otherwise it could be another double or triple jeopardy especially considering that Zimbabwe has been going through an economic meltdown way before the pandemic reared its ugly head.