- May 7, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that the country has now eased the Covid-19 lock-down restrictions from stage 4 to stage 2. Stage 2 fundamentally permits industry and business to resume operations, a relief for some miners to return to full-scale operations.
The President said it is now mandatory that face masks are worn in public, a series of precautions are to be undertaken and physical distancing is still to be observed even at workplaces.
The development has been welcomed country-wide by some in the mining sector who had not been able to access exemption letters. With halting of operations some miners face now an uphill task of dewatering.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation’s Mashonaland West chairperson Chiedza Chipangura said Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASM) are to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.
Speaking to Mining Zimbabwe Chipangura said, “There should be consistent and right use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face masks and shields, the use and changing gloves frequently, and disposing of the used equipment correctly. For safe disposal, we encourage the use of pit latrines”.
“Job specialisation is now critical for example a feeder should remain at the same station till the end of a shift instead of multi-touch and moving from one department to the other,” she continued.
“Equipment must be sanitised at the change of each shift and there should be limited movement of staff. Those on duty should remain at the mine site accommodation as directed by H.E. in his address of the lock-down extension as it helps in localising infections” Chipangura said.
Turning to operational challenges some ASM are now facing due to not being able to get letters of exemptions during the lock-down Chipangura said, “As a SECTOR we are grateful for the exemptions extended to our sector. Those who had genuine challenges applied and were granted the authority to operate from the beginning. As such the issues of mine flooding were curbed. However, those who did not are now facing an uphill of dewatering which is very costly and slows production”.
Zimbabwe has been under lock-down for 30 days in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 which ended on the 3rd of May and the President announced government had decided to extend the lockdown with another two weeks but allowed formal businesses to reopen under strict conditions.
“Health inspection teams would immediately start random checks for compliance, while those who do not meet the requirements would be stopped from operating,” Mnangagwa said.
As at 2 May 2020, Zimbabwe had 34 confirmed cases, including five (5) recoveries and four (4) deaths.