|Zupco Kombis in Masvingo|
Commuter omnibuses are regarded as a hotspot for Covid-19 since passengers are often overloaded in violation of Covid-19 regulation of maintaining a distance of one meter between individuals, it has been said.
This came out during a Covid-19 response press discussion organized by TellZim and held at Charles Austin Theatre on May 27.
Masvingo Provincial Covid-19 Taskforce spokesperson Rogers Irimayi said commuter omnibuses commonly known as kombis were possible hotspots of the virus as operators were largely defying government directives on the loading of passengers.
“Many operators are not sticking to the passenger limits prescribed by government and are overloading. That is not allowed and it is the duty of us citizens to report such cases or to refuse to be packed in those kombis,” said Irimayi.
He said that it was due to the fact that Masvingo was a small city where travelling to the furthest point could take 10 minutes in average traffic that there was no many cases of transmission of the virus in kombis.
“That is the advantage that we have a s a city. We don’t spend a lot of time on the kombi seats because it may take only some 10 minutes before you disembark from the kombi. It would probably be a different case if we needed to travel longer distances and spend more time squeezing each other while packed in the kombis,” said Irimayi.
He said it was also fortunate that Zupco kombis were getting fumigated on a daily basis before they start commuting so as to curb the spread of Covid-19 as confirmed by Irimayi.
“Zupco kombies are fumigated every day before they start commuting so as to curb the spread of Covid-19. That helps a lot in minimising the risk of spreading the virus among commuters on vehicles that carry people the whole day,” Irimayi said.
Zupco Masvingo depot manager Wiseman Zuweni said all Zupco-affiliated public utility vehicles were obligated to sanitize passengers.
“Passengers are sanitized at the door upon entry. This does not mean to say our operators must overload; they must stick to the loading limits that have been set by government so that there is sufficient social Zupco kombi operators urged to stop overloading distancing,” said Zuweni.
Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (Murra) spokesperson Godfrey Mtimba said government must enforce loading limits on Zupco which the government’s own company.
“Zupco kombis are a cause for serious concern because they are doing as they like. There is hardly any social distancing. It’s now even more frightening in light of the many Covid-19 cases that have been recorded at Bondolfi Teachers’ College,” said Mtimba.