Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Correspondent
MEMBERS of the public are abusing the eased lockdown regulations as they are not taking heed of calls for social distancing, putting themselves and other people at risk of Covid-19 infections.
It was business as usual over the past week as people, men and women alike, threw caution to the wind and did nothing to avoid physical contact.
Bank, supermarket, transport queues are the new normal, with people failing to observe social distancing.
A Chronicle news crew observed a lot of people queuing at banks, shops and food outlets while motorists grouped to chat and pass time at fuel queues.
In pirating vehicles, passengers would be crammed together.
Some security guards say they have fallen victim to harassment as they try to enforce social distancing and other Covid-19 safety regulations at shops and banking halls as people accuse them of trying to “impersonate nurses”.
A security guard at an OK Zimbabwe outlet in the city said it was difficult to ensure that people maintain social distancing in queues as shoppers took offence when they were instructed to maintain physical distance.
“I have been told in these queues that just because I have a thermometer and surgical spirit or a sanitiser does not make me a doctor or a nurse and I must stay in my lane. Mob psychology is a problem because when one person starts dressing you down as you are doing your job, others just join in and you find yourself in some big trouble. So sometimes we end up just keeping quiet and ignoring them, despite the looming danger of disease spreading if people do not maintain physical distance,” he said.
A shopper at TM supermarket yesterday who identified herself as Shamiso Chikodzo said she always tries to avoid busy hours in the city as she takes social distancing seriously.
“People get offended if I ask them to step back from me just a little bit. But it is not okay. At banks, a stranger wants to borrow a pen. I know it sounds mean but now is not the time to be just sharing objects. It is not safe. People would rather label me as anti-social or mean, but safety comes first,” said Ms Chikodzo.
Another resident, Ms Buhle Mthunzi said a single bus serves a number of suburbs, which creates chaos and makes the wait for a ride longer in the CBD.
“I come from Emakhandeni and we use the same bus with people from Cowdray Park. The bus is overwhelmed and we stand in the queue for hours. We arrive late at home but in that wait, there is no straight queue and there is no social distancing but you cannot think you are better than others and leave the queue because you will then never board the bus,” she said.
Mpilo Central Hospital Clinical Director and acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Solwayo Ngwenya in an interview yesterday said people should be vigilant and be on high alert.
“If you are not careful and start relaxing because you feel that laws have relaxed and check points are fewer, you may catch the virus, and if you are unlucky, you will die. Adults should be responsible. They need no policing. Government has laxed some laws so that people can go about essential errands. But you find people gallivanting and moving aimlessly which is dangerous. As I have said before, those that have no essential work to do outside of home must stay at home for their safety,” said Dr Ngwenya.
“Just because laws have been laxed does not at all mean that people are safer now. Covid-19 is still there and it is raging. People must continue to be vigilant, actually now like never before as winter is upon us, which is more favourable conditions for a Covid-19 outbreak.” — @andile_tshuma