Editorial

Bust secret bars

IT is inconceivable that liquor traders in collusion with frivolous fun-lovers could devise a devious scheme to sell beer behind locked doors in bars and shebeens dotted around townships and other places.
In the face of 39 cases of COVID-19 with one death, how dare would greedy bar owners entertain revelers who stealthily get into drinking spots in contravention of the law!
Lodge and night club owners have also joined the melee to make a quick buck out of uncaring alcoholics and their cohorts.
Clearly, this is an indication that some people have underestimated the devastating effects of the COVID-19, which has brought some Western countries to their knees.
While the infection rate in Zambia is relatively low thus far, some greedy and unpatriotic citizens have gone astray either ignorantly or deliberately.
Some dedicated revellers and their host bar owners are using phones to call each other when the ‘cost is clear’ to sneak into the bars, whose doors are later shut as though there is no activity inside.
In some cases, inebriated patrons are spotted wobbling out of quiet and seemingly shut pubs one by one as a way of evading police officers on patrol.
Surprisingly, this is being done by adults some of whom park their automobiles away from drinking spots.
While police mount patrols, they are unable to check all areas particularly sprawling townships and unplanned settlements.
Therefore, patriotic and alert citizens must get on board and assist law enforcement officers, either through organised and peaceful citizens’ arrest or simply by reporting such misfits to security personnel.
Reports can also be submitted to the district health offices, councils or to the District Commissioners office.
Zambians must remain brother’s and sister’s keepers in order to effectively fight the COVID-19.
On the other hand, police, councils and health officials must upscale surveillance and patrols in all townships and arrest anyone abrogating the Public Health Act and the Statutory Instruments 21 and 22 designed to prevent the spread of infections.
It will also be prudent for Government to deploy the Zambia Army and Zambia National Service personnel to patrol all areas and assist in enforcing social distancing before the situation blows out of proportion.
Zambia needs to be proactive and implement some of the strict measures while the numbers are still manageable as opposed to getting into overdrive when the numbers shoot up.
It will be cheaper to handle the cases when they are few as the country is already teetering on an economic cliff.
It is worrying that compliance levels are very low when citizens could have adjusted even before the first two cases were reported. According to the World Health Organisation there were 1,056,159 confirmed cases novel coronavirus with 57,206 deaths in 208 countries as at April 3, this year.
This is a virus which was detected in Wuhan and first reported to the World Health Organisation Country Office in China on 31 December, last year yet some citizens have elected to remain causal about it.
The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 and by now Zambians should have been extra cautious instead of devising secret drinking schemes.
It is no wonder that authorities in some countries resorted to whipping defiant citizens.

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