The Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ), has appealed to Government to review working hours to save businesses and to escalate the national response in the fight against Covid-19 as the country risks losing best brains to the global pandemic.
Zimbabwe, like other countries in the world, is currently experiencing a deadly second wave of the novel virus and has registered a surge in infections and deaths.
Government responded to the latest wave by tightening lockdown measures as a means to curtail crowds, which are a breeding ground for the infections, which is, however, suffocating businesses.
Businesses are now required to open at 8am and close at 3pm, while a 6pm to 6am curfew has been imposed.
Now, EMCOZ – which brings together the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the Commercial Farmers Union, has sought Government’s indulgence to better the national response system and to save already struggling businesses from the effects of Covid-19 and sanctions.
“In order to improve on productivity, we humbly request for a review of business operating hours (opening 7am and closing 4 for manufacturing, 8am to 5pm for supermarkets and other retail outlets) to reduce overcrowding and curfew hours to run from 7pm to 5am to allow movement of those in essential services to travel from home to work and back ahead of curfew hours,” reads the letter.
In a letter to Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who is also Minister of Health and Child Care Minister, EMCOZ proposes that Government identifies and approves a Covid-19 vaccine.
“We humbly request the authorities to assist the private sector to procure PCR and rapid antigen testing kits at affordable low cost,” said EMCOZ.
It also appealed for help in procuring Covid-19 test kits as well as escalate awareness programmes.
“We are concerned with the fast deteriorating situation and hope that as with many other nations our plans for rolling out vaccination are advanced,” wrote EMCOZ through their vice president Demos Mbauya.
“We also look forward to the private sector taking part in the vaccination programme. Companies are having difficulties in testing their employees for Covid-19 infection due to high costs associated with testing done by some private laboratories ranging from US$50 to US465 per employee.”
Authorities say the number of infections are expected to come down soon, while there is still challenges with the number of people succumbing to Covid-19.
The official cumulative statics as of Tuesday stood at 28 675 confirmed cases, 18 110 recoveries, 9 740 active cases and 825 deaths.