Following the relaxing of some lockdown measures, some Zimbabweans now seemingly believe that the threat of the coronavirus pandemic is over and are returning to old habits.
A brief survey by H-Metro yesterday showed that some Zimbabweans are only carrying facemasks out of fear of the police as opposed to saving their own lives.
Couples relax at Africa Unity Square and Harare Gardens on SUnday
People found without properly wearing facemasks are fined ZW$500 and to some, this is their bigger worry than Covid-19 itself.
In his Lockdown update, President Mnangagwa on Friday urged Zimbabweans to remain vigilant in the fight against coronavirus and this includes wearing facemasks at ALL times once outside homes.
“In this new normal, we must be vigilant. We must not rest. The virus is still with us. It has neither disappeared nor been destroyed. It has neither vanished nor been vanquished; it lives amongst us. So please act with caution. Wear a mask at all times when you are outside your homes.
“Don’t cough into your hands and maintain social distance wherever possible. Do not spend time in enclosed spaces with strangers, and ensure that windows are open in workspaces. Wash or sanitize your hands regularly and thoroughly.
“This may seem rudimentary, but these small acts may just save the life of your grandmother or grandfather, brother or sister, mother or father, friend or co-worker; even your own life. This will not last forever. We will – someday – return to the warm ways of Zimbabwe once again. However, the status-quo and the immediate future demand our active diligence.
“Let us influence and educate each other, and our friends and family on how to minimise the risks of infection. The virus must be kept in check. Only with strict discipline can we fully get back on course towards building a functioning, modern and prosperous economy,” said President Mnangagwa.
However, a tour of the Africa Unity Square and Harare Gardens yesterday showed a number of people – often seated as couples – disregarding the measures spelt out by government repeatedly as they enjoyed each other’s company on a Sunday.
At the Africa Unit Square, a Johanne Masowe yeChishanu self-styled prophetess was actually discouraging people from wearing facemasks in the park.
Madzimai Nyaradzai Machote of Eastview suburb along with two others conducted prayers in the park claiming that they were cleansing the city.
“We are here as spirits to cleanse this place since it is the heart of Harare handiti ndipo panoka pakati peguta,” said Madzimai Nyaradzai.
“We are here to inform people not to take Covid-19 seriously and not to put on facemasks as directed by Western countries.
“I am sure that Zimbabweans are better educated than many nations and as such they must not move putting on face masks to hide their faces.
“Instead of preventing Covid-19 which they claim is in this country they are instead promoting robbery as people lose their belongings to masked people.
“It is that reason we have been sent to spread the word to people that they must not be fooled but instead seek God’s face in prayer.
“Tirikuswera takarara tichirotswa hope dzekuti tiudze nyika zvainofanira kuita.
“Panzvimbo ino pakachererwa mazinyoka akaipa atauya kuzobvisa saka matiwona tiripano kudai ende hatipfeke zvimadhende pamiromo yedu,” she said discouraging the measures set by Government to curb spreading of Covid-19.
While Madzimai Nyaradzai was conducting prayers and laying her hands on some people who consulted her, men and women dotted in the park were caressing each other.
A number of faith healers and pastors have died of coronavirus across the globe while disregarding measures aimed at managing the pandemic.
***Last month, 39-year old Cameroon pastor and faith healer Frankline Ndifor died of Covid-19 having previously alleged he had cured people of the novel coronavirus by laying his hands on them. His followers, who were praying for his resurrection, blocked entry to his home and authorities had to enter Ndifor’s home by force. The pastor died within 10 minutes after medical personnel arrived.
*** A Virginia pastor who defied warnings about the danger of religious gatherings during the pandemic and vowed to keep preaching, “unless I’m in jail or the hospital” died in mid April after contracting Covid-19, his church said.
The pastor, Gerald O. Glenn, 66, the bishop and founder of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Chesterfield, Va, died on April 11, according to Bryan Nevers, a church elder.