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Covid-19: Panic causes Byo residents to stock up on essentials

Panic-stricken Bulawayo residents have started buying basic commodities in bulk as fear over the spread over the Coronavirus continues to grip the nation.

On Tuesday, the government announced that a third person had tested positive to Coronavirus, which has already claimed one person.

The unprecedented demand was escalated by the latest measures to curb the spread of the pandemic in the country announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday.

In his address to the nation, President Mnangagwa announced that the country`s borders will be closed and also ordered the closure of night clubs, bars, beerhalls, movie houses, swimming pools, gymnasiums and sporting activities until further notice.

The closure of the border will have an impact on the Matabeleland region with most people relying on neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana for most of their basic commodities which are readily available.

A snap survey conducted by CITE on Tuesday showed that most supermarkets in the Central Business District (CBD) were packed with people buying commodities such as Mealie-meal, cooking oil, rice, sugar and detergents.

Most of the supermarkets took advantage of the situation to hike prices.

“There is panic buying especially on basic commodities mealie meal, rice, soap, sugar, cooking oil and flour, people are no longer worried about high prices,” said a shop attendant at Pick n Pay supermarket.

“In the past few days’ people were buying roller meal but have now turned to super-refined mealie meal which is going for ZWL$239 for a 10kg bag.”

In addition, another shop attendant at Choppies supermarket revealed that most consumers were purchasing sanitizers and cleaning detergents.

“Most of our customers were purchasing cleaning detergents, tinned food and mealie meal,” he said.

Butcheries were also a hive of activity as consumers stocked up on various meat products.

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