Stephen Mpofu, Perspective
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s industrial hub is in dire stress Covid-19 wise and therefore requires urgent action by the powers-that-be to rescue the beleaguered population in the city of Kings and Queens; otherwise worse, or the worst looms in the air for the citizenry in dire stress.
A report published in this newspaper two days ago could not have painted a gloomier picture when reporting that of all provinces in Zimbabwe, Bulawayo recorded more than 10 percent increase in new Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks.
Have city adults thrown masks to the wind with thumbs down on social distancing, sanitisers as well as washing of hands — protocols recommended by the World Health Organisation and our Government, and in the process putting younger people who are less responsible for their safety in greater danger with reports of the coronavirus upsurge coming from learning institutions in the city?
Or are city health monitors and those supervising them from the Government sleeping on the job, or what is to be blamed for the laissez-faire in point which, with no immediate intervention from the powers-that-be might cost not only the education of children but worse still the lives of the young stock who are the future leaders of our motherland?
Earlier this year this column carried a report from a neighbouring country to the South to the effect that some residents from that nation who were infected with the coronavirus travelled to and fro across borders apparently without fear, or seeking medical attention at home.
This column warned that it might be just a matter of time before the we-don’t-care travellers aggravated the Covid-19 pandemic in our country as we now have it according to the discourse above.
The Government recently said all school children must report for their lessons after the long lockdown during which schools in urban areas received lessons online while many rural pupils whose schools lacked the same digital facilities lagged behind in their education.
Health authorities must move swiftly to discover why schools have accounted for more Covid-19 infections than workplaces, for instance, and take swift remedial measures to save pupils.
And parents — what have they done to protect their offspring from that deadly virus, or do they need sanctions themselves as punishment for their negligence or more education at home to protect their children?
As things stand, the reports about Bulawayo, of all urban centres, posting increases in Covid-19 cases paints a terrible picture which might cost the country’s industrial hub as a no go area for potential investors eager to set up businesses in our city.
Which impels our Government to order an investigation as to why Bulawayo is in limbo and to take remedial action to restore the city’s image as a place for profitable industries to be set up by potential investors both local and foreign.
Add to the above a possibility which should not be ruled out that if Bulawayo schools continue to be regarded as danger zones because of the coronavirus, parents might withdraw their children and send them to safer institutions away from the city, thereby depriving the local institutions of much-needed revenue in fees and jobs and salaries for teachers or have the children rot at home as it were, educationally to save them from the deadly disease.