In the advent of the explosive spread of Coronavirus, quarantining and social distancing have become the buzzwords as nations struggle to contain the spread of the virus.
These measures basically involve avoiding human contact by keeping people cloistered in their homes and avoiding going out.
California in the US is the latest city to take up the measure whilst the Chinese managed to defeat the virus in Wuhan, the starting point of the virus, by quarantining the whole area.
Harare like the rest of the country is, officially, yet to report any cases of Coronavirus but the prospects for such a scenario having to be required of it raises scary visions as the city is seriously lacking in many basics.
Foremost is the scarcity of water. Council is struggling to provide tap water and people have resorted to the use of boreholes where usually they are hundreds of people milling around.
This scenario has also raised doubts about the effectiveness of President Mnangagwa’s decree against the assemblage of people beyond 100.
The water challenge is one scenario where the natural order of the situation compels people to go out despite the Corona situation requiring that they stay inside.
The city is also struggling with issues of power and residents have to access either firewood or gas, all of which will ultimately force people out.
The poor economic situation in the country also raises the harder to overcome scenario of a people that are living from hand to mouth and working informally.
Whereas the West has a highly formalised taskforce which can be dealt with professionally and in a uniform manner it’s different here.
Currently Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has released a massive economic stimulus bill to fight the coronavirus’s fallout under which will be direct cash payments to many of the country’s workforce forced off by the virus.
The centerpiece of the Senate GOP plan — building on a proposal revealed Wednesday by the Treasury Department — would be hundreds of billions of dollars sent to Americans in the form of checks as a way to flood the country with money in an effort to blunt the dramatic pullback of spending that has resulted from the coronavirus outbreak.
The informal sector employs the majority of the locals.
According to Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat), the informal sector dominates with 2,2 million or 76 percent of the 2,9 million earning a living within the informal sector which creates a different and dangerous scenario when there is need for a quarantine.
How will all those people fend for themselves and who will cater for them? It’s a foregone conclusion that government is not able to come in as it already is under it’s own financial stresses.
Thus as the Coronavirus numbers are beginning to tick-up around Zimbabwe with Zambia and Namibia the latest neighbours to register cases it’s a frightening prospect that the capital city, like the rest of the country, is facing a dangerous doomsday scenario.