Editorial

Stay home

AS the country continues creaking under the weight of Covid-19 impact, Zambians ought to make a paradigm shift in their economic and social disposition.
So far, very little has changed as people have continued interacting in a manner that provides a fertile breeding ground for the spread of Covid-19.
Citizens ought to remain within their confines of their homes.
The awareness campaign has emphasised that citizens must stay home to reduce the risk of contracting the virus which is sweeping across the globe.
Stay home please!
Of course, essential workers and entrepreneurs will at the moment continue operating, though at a reduced pace.
Very essential workers such as medical practitioners, security officers, telecommunication service providers, water and electricity utility firms as well as local authorities will conversely have to work extra hours.
The media also fall sunder this category.
However, overzealous youths, who have the habit of roaming the streets and elderly citizens must restrict their movements and only venture out when it is absolutely necessary.
It has become difficult for some Zambians to break from deep-rooted cultural practices and habits such as social distancing.
In some scenarios, some people have lamentably failed to resist hand-shakes, carelessly extending hands at a time the warning is resonating countrywide.
Ignorance and stubbornness abound.
In the rural outposts, villagers are still enjoying locally-brewed alcoholic beverages known in some areas as “Katata” or “seven days” which is served from a huge drum.
Shockingly, a story is told of how some people in Isoka have established secret locations where they enjoy “Katata” and sip from the same containers in groups in the face of the rapidly-spreading virus.
The communal lifestyle is an extreme risk which must come to an end immediately.
Another sad episode taking its toll is that overzealous people have continued splashing scary information and messages laced with stigma.
There are also well-intended, but poorly packaged messages trending on social media such as: “stay home or else you will be shunted to a quarantine centre and may not return.”
In effect, the message is implying that once a person is taken to quarantine centre, they will not return; they will die.
Even after the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) issued a warning against issuing false information, people have continued to peddle unverified messages that may cause discontent.
As ZICTA indicated, it is criminal to publish or circulate false information, hence all citizens must desist from such a crude act.
Quarantine is not meant to punish anyone, but gives chance to medical personal to do their work and prevent possible spread of the virus.
In the same vein, the public need to draw a distinction between isolation and quarantine instead of using the two words interchangeably.
For the sake of clarity, isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
On the other hand, quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease.
In quarantine, therefore, people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.
Therefore, citizens must not stigmatise people who are being subjected to public health practices, either in isolation or quarantine.
The catchphrase though is stay home!

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