GWERU – The current mass urban transport system under the ZUPCO franchise can be a key driver in the local COVID-19 transmission cases that are currently being experienced around the country and are on the increase; a local authority watchdog, Gweru Residents Forum (GRF) has said.
In a report, GRF said its monitoring teams have observed that there is no social distancing on the bus queues due to limited buses thereby increasing chances for transmission in areas like Mkoba North, Mkoba South, Woddlands and the Central Business District.
The report comes at a time Zimbabwe has experienced 273 new cases in one day while 260 of these are local transmissions.
The organization therefore advised government to either increase the ZUPCO fleet or liberarise the transport sector to players who were operational before the lockdown.
“The local government Ministry should increase the ZUPCO fleet or liberalise the transport sector to other private players who were in the transport sector before lockdown through a systematic monitoring system to check vehicle compliance with the national COVID-19 lockdown measures.
“The situation on the ground points out that central government has limited capacity to deal with the current urban transport system challenges in citizens enduring long hours in the transport queues with no social distancing in place,” the report reads.
The organization also further advised that government should ensure constant supply of fuel to the already existing fleet so as to minimize delays of ferrying people during peak hours.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Zimbabwe has had 1 362 confirmed cases, 425 recoveries, 914 active cases and 23 deaths.
Meanwhile, Midlands Province has had 102 confirmed cases, 57 recoveries, 43 active cases and 2 deaths.