July 20, 2020

Covid-19 Invades Zim Workplaces

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Takudzwa Chihambakwe

With 133 people testing positive for coronavirus on Sunday, pushing the total of those infected in Zimbabwe to 1611, the question many have is, should business continue as usual?

Some concerned citizens have said that government should reintroduce the level four lockdown while some are calling for companies to decongest the work place by only allowing essential staff to report for duty.

This comes as more than five companies were forced to temporarily shut down some of their branches over the weekend as staff members tested positive for the virus. 

In this regard, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Secretary General, Japhet Moyo said it is difficult to shut down the economy as was the case with the initial 21-day-long lockdown. 

However, he said the prevailing trend was posing serious challenges for both workers and employers.

“The issue of decongesting the workplace without alternatives on how to assist those you are asking to stay at home is a major problem,” said Moyo.

“Some efforts by employers who have been testing their employees have been put to waste as the same tested individuals risk contracting the virus at congested bus termini. So we urge authorities to provide more transport to avoid the crowding we are seeing. A complete shutdown of the economy is difficult to implement.”

Meanwhile, Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) president, Israel Murefu feels more serious measures need to be put in place at the workplace to protect workers from the virus.

“I would not recommend that we go back to the measures that we had in the first lockdown,” said Dr Murefu.

“I suggest that corporates take more stringent measures in their own without being asked by authorities to do so. But the biggest challenge will be in the informal sector because there is no monitoring mechanism to follow the same measures that players in the formal sector are taking,” he explained. 

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