Editorial

DEFYING COVID-19 MEASURES

DESPITE the ban on illegal gatherings in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak which has so far claimed two lives some Zambians have sadly continued defying this directive and other health measures to prevent further spread of the virus.
One just needs to go round Lusaka’s high density residential areas to prove this fact. Many people in these areas have continued going about their daily lives, very much oblivious to threats of the coronavirus.
Groups of youths can still be seen mingling or drinking while children playing soccer and people plying their merchandise without observing social distancing, sanitising and other health measures are common sights.
In markets, congestion remains rife while traders have continued defying prescribed Covid-19 measures by selling food and other items under unhygienic conditions.
Even those attempting to uphold the measures to prevent the spread of the virus in these facilities are not strictly doing so given the unsanitary conditions under which they are operating from.
Either these people are yet to understand the dangers of Covid-19 or just being stubborn.
The prevailing situation in markets is a setback in as far as fighting Covid-19 is concerned to say the least. It seems some marketeers have just refused to accept the fact that Covid-19 is capable of wiping out vast numbers of people as is happening in America and Europe.
But even more worring is the fact that some stubborn church members have continued gathering secretly in schools despite warnings by health authorities to prevent further spread of the virus.
While we appreciate their desire to worship God during such difficult times, it would be folly for them to ignore Ministry of Health advice at their own peril.
Indeed we salute their faith in God but we urge them to stop thinking that they are immune from Covid-19 as they were only endangering their lives by continuing to gather.
In any case, how can one worship God if he or she is dead? It is better to remain alive and continue worshiping God than to die and be incapable of doing so.
That is why people have been asked to worship from their homes or via radio and television until such a time when it was declared safe by health experts.
Otherwise it will be very difficult to avoid further transmissions if people continued defying Covid-19 interventions – ignorance and stubbornness will only trigger a spike in infections.
We therefore urge Ministry of Health, Police and other government and security wings to intensify their surveillance in all areas and extend it to schools where some people are still reportedly gathering secretly.
This must to come to end! Those caught breaking the law should be punished and should have no one to blame if they are flushed out from their “hideouts” by force.
The message is loud and clear, Covid-19 is a real threat as evidenced by its potential to not only wipe out humans but jobs and world economies too, so why the stubbornness?
Therefore it’s crucial for Zambians, especially those living in high density areas, to change their attitude and strictly start abiding by the various interventions that have been put in place to prevent further transmission of the virus.
While, we are aware of the need for people to continue trading because most of them in these areas survive on a hand-to-mouth basis, it is important for them to observe social distancing and other prescribed measures as they trade.
Judging from what is happening, it is clear that there is need for intensified sensitisation among people on the dangers of Covid-19, particularly among those who live in high density areas where levels of compliance have undoutebly been compromised.
Thus far, Zambia has recorded 39 confirmed Covid-19 cases since the disease broke out in the country with three patients being discharged and one death.
With strict observance of the Coid-19 measures, we have no doubt that further infections and new cases could be avoided. Despite the statistics looking promising, citizens should not relent on adherence to the health guidelines.

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