GWERU residents said they were not prepared for prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns that could restrict movement and disrupt business operations.

On Tuesday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced new lockdown measures, which require that shops should open at 7am and close at 7pm, while the curfew has been brought forward to be effective from 9pm to 6am.

Speaking during a ZimRights engagement workshop in Gweru, residents said lockdowns impacted their livelihoods

Women rights activist Merjury Makunere said informal traders were hard hit by COVID-19-induced restrictions.

Another participant urged government to provide social safety nets for vulnerable people.

“This can only happen if we strategise and engage our political representatives at local and national levels,” Makunere said.

Young women rights activist Nozipho Rutsate said corruption was rampant during previous lockdowns as people bribed their way into the city centre.