Zimbabwe announced a nationwide lockdown with effect from March 30 to contain the spread of coronavirus but the decision has raised fears of widespread hunger in a country full of low-income households. Melanie Robinson, the UK Ambassador to Zimbabwe, has urged people to remain calm and abide by the law, calling it is necessary to slow the spread of the deadly virus.
Recognise that Zimbabwe lockdown, necessary to slow spread of #COVID19, will be hard for many. Urge calm, lawful behaviour from govt & citizens. Already stepped up #UKaid response via @WHO & @UNICEF: working with partners to do more. Important we pull together to fight #COVID19— Melanie Robinson (@HMAMelanieR) March 29, 2020
In December last year, the World Food Programme (WFP) had warned that Zimbabwe is facing its worst hunger crisis in a decade with half of the population having food insecurity. WFP spokesperson Bettina Luescher had highlighted that eight of Zimbabwe’s 59 districts have acute malnutrition rates of over five per cent.
“The crisis is being exacerbated by a dire shortage of currency, runaway inflation, mounting unemployment, lack of fuel, prolonged power outages and large-scale livestock losses,” said Luescher.
Now the decision of a 21-day lockdown could further worsen the situation at a time when millions of people are already struggling with soaring food prices and stagnant salaries. In a series of tweets, Timmo Olkkonen, Head of the delegation to the European Union to Zimbabwe, said that the delegation is supporting Zimbabwe’s health sector through the agencies of the United Nations.
3/4 We are supporting Zimbabwe’s health sector through multi-donor @UNICEFZIMBABWE & @WHO managed Health Development Fund that contributes to the fight against #Covid_19 .A few months ago we allocated 38 million € more to HDF&are ready of using HDF funds further for that fight— Timo Olkkonen_EU (@TimoOlkkonen) March 29, 2020
Zimbabwe has reported seven confirmed cases of coronavirus and a 30-year-old broadcaster Zororo Makamba has died from the infection.
(Image Credit: AP)