By ANDREW MUKOMA
MARKETS in Livingstone are overcrowded with customers and traders all of whom are not observing social distancing, the Zambia Micro and Small Traders Foundation Cooperative (ZAMAST) has observed.
In addition, ZAMAST noted, marketeers and most of their customers were not using face masks, thereby presenting a fertile ground for the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
The organisation has thus sent a passionate appeal to the Livingstone City Council (LCC) and other authorities to enhance the Covid-19 sensitisation among traders and customers in all markets and other public places.
Southern Province Coordinator, Frederick Sakala, observed that some markets were overcrowded and people were not adhering to social distancing.
Mr Sakala added that traders were not using face masks as guided by health experts yet they were interacting with multitudes of people at great risk.
ZAMAST itself conducted a sensitisation meeting at a temporary market at COMESA building at the weekend.
Mr Sakala said that it was against that background that ZAMAST realised the need for the council to get on board and sensitize the marketeers.
“The massage we are imparting in our members is that this Coronavirus is deadly and therefore, they should observed social distancing, handwashing or sanitizing and keeping their trading spaces clean and healthy all the time.
“They need to comply and adhere to the guidelines and measures. As ZAMAST, our appeal is for the Livingstone City Council to draw up a programme of going round our markets and sensitize the marketeers about this deadly virus called COVID-19,” he said
He said his organisation discovered that most people in markets were ignorant about the Coronavirus and very few listen to radio, watch television and read newspapers.
Mr Sakala said that the situation was similar in bus stations where minibuses were getting passengers on their vehicles full to capacity and without sanitizers.
He observed that the situation required everyone’s efforts in ensuring that residents were fully aware of the COVID-19.
“It is unfortunate that we are not seeing our MP for Livingstone and all the councillors getting involved in sensitizing the people on COVID-19. Let them get on the ground and be relevant to the people who voted for them,” Mr Sakala said.
By ANDREW MUKOMA