Zimbabweans in coronavirus panic buying

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  • Coronvirus panic buying is global phenomena
  • Zimbabweans are anticipating lockdown
  • The country ill prepared for a lock-down

Zimbabweans are slowly embracing the reality of coronavirus possibly hitting the country and against this expectations, hoarding of groceries in retail shops has escalated.

One of the country’s biggest retailers OK Zimbabwe which has a nationwide presence, said it has noted an increase in the volumes of basics, hygiene, cleaning and household goods purchases at their branches across the country.

The company said it is evident that customers may be purchasing beyond their normal requirements. The rush to stock up basics among other goods has been a world-wide phenomena against the global spread of the coronavirus. Reports on most television networks show customers stampeding to purchase goods and most shelves going empty.

Governments are moving in to enforce total and partial lockdowns and this has affected how customers access retail shops. China enforced a total lockdown earlier in January when the disease first emerged in Wuhan. Italy was the second to enforce a lockdown which is now in its third week.

The US, India, Spain, Iran and host of other countries are in either partial or total lockdown. Lockdowns are enforced as a measure to control the spread of the disease as they force people to stay at home.

Rwanda, which has been one of the hardest hit African countries, is also on lockdown. It is reported that 2 men in their 20’s were shot by the police after resisting lockdown and fought police in a bid to proceed with their errands. Africa’s top economies South Africa and Nigeria have also effected lockdowns with the former starting today and lasting over the next 3 weeks. army tanks were seen roaming the streets of South Africa hours before the order went into effect, Wednesday night.

Zimbabwe has only effected partial measures such as the closing of schools, restricting gatherings to a minimal number and discouraging unnecessary movements. Zimbabwe has so far officially recorded 3 coronavirus positive cases and one death. As the pandemic increases in terms of the rate of new infections which is now nearing 500,000, it is likely that Zimbabwe will also go into lock-down over the next few days.

OK Zimbabwe said it now limiting the quantities per customer on some product lines in order to ensure that access to products is spread among a large number of customers. Customers globally have turned to online retail and demand for online retail has sharply soared.

Last week Amazon, a global online retail giant said it has seen demand sharply spike and was moving to suspend taking orders for non-essential goods and will briefly concentrate on basics and household goods. The company has since hired about 100,000 temporary work-force to scale up its business.

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