Transport queues a ticking time bomb for COVID-19. Zimbabwe is currently on level 2 of the national lockdown which has been marked with the prolonged ban on public transport.
The extended lockdown period coupled with the opening of industry and commerce has seen the reintroduction of long winding bus queues as the city has been hit by an acute shortage of ZUPCO buses and kombis.
Long queues are a constant feature at Zupco bus terminals along Herbert Chitepo Street. There is widespread disregard for social distancing in most queues thus raising the likelihood of the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The removal of checkpoints has also necessitated unnecessary movement and given rise to pirating. Some commuters have however opted to backtrack home on foot while others have resorted to hiking.
The transport situation has also seen the resurgence of open trucks as witnessed at hiking spots along Fort street yesterday, where commuters were seen packed in vans with no regard for social distancing.
The prevailing transport situation carries the latency to increase the risk of exposure to Covid-19 thus reversing progress achieved so far in combating local transmissions. Habakkuk Trust Community Advocates in Bulawayo have raised fears of a possible increase in the number of Covid-19 cases as commuters crowd in bus queues.
The offer by the Government to contact commuter omnibuses under the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company was rejected by operators who cited the lack of economic viability in the venture. Habakkuk Trust, therefore, implores the Government to increase the number of buses to complement the increasing volume of commuters as a result, not lockdown relaxation.
Source – Bulawayo24 News
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