Editorial

Containing Covid-19

THAT President Edgar Lungu has extended by another two weeks the measures that Government has taken to stem the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is not surprising.
It is in fact in line with what most other countries have done throughout the world, stepping up measures to fight the spread of this deadly menace ravaging the world.
If anything, people must be reminded that this raging pandemic does not have a time frame as when it could be eradicated.
Its eradication is likely to be long-term and only possible only as long as people throughout the world heed directives from the health specialists.
As President Lungu noted, even though Zambia had not recorded any new case between Wednesday and Thursday, it was not cause for complacency.
Even the World Health Organisation chief has warned that lifting coronavirus lockdown measures too early could spark a “deadly resurgence” in infections,
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries should be cautious about easing restrictions, even as some struggle with the economic impact.
Globally there are over 1.6 million cases of coronavirus and more than 97, 000 deaths.
Mr Lungu, in his Covid-19 national address also directed that all citizens should wear face masks in public places as a measure to stop its spread.
Critics will nevertheless accuse the government of not ensuring that face masks are made available throughout the country and at an affordable price. These are small bottle necks not difficult to deal with.
Yes, while we could pat ourselves on the back that we are doing a good job, the threat from Covid-19 is real and only continued precautions will save the nation.
We feel that keeping bars, gyms, casinos, and all others measures for another two weeks against Covid-19 is a small sacrifice to make.
After all, we have not yet of anyone dying as a result of not being able to drink from a bar.
Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya yesterday reported that 28 patients had recovered from Covid-19 in the country with only 10 active cases.
Dr Chilufya said no new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours where 74 tests were done including for 51 contacts of a 58-year-old hypertensive man from Kafue who died in the Intensive Care Unit at the University Teaching Hospital on Thursday.
But as Mr Lungu noted on Friday, it was prudent that the preventive measures continued to be implemented so that the country continued to yield tangible results amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
We are aware that the preventive measures have had an adverse effect not only on the country’s economy but on individuals who have to struggle day in day out to eke out a living.
“I usually have sleepless nights during this period to see how to stop the spread of Covid-19 and my heart bleeds seeing that woman who sell on the streets, that girl who has a salon and that man who has a barbershop but we need to do the right thing to ensure that this pandemic does not spread in our country,” Mr Lungu said.
That, coming from the President’s heart should show Zambians that these measures are not taken lightly to make their lives hard.Zambia’s Covid-19 preventive measures compared to other countries are quite soft. In other countries, Kenya for example,
President Uhuru Kenyatta publicly apologised over the ruthless manner that security forces were implementing the curfew.
Government has resisted calls to have a total lock down.
People have instead been asked to voluntarily stay home and avoid public places unless there is a compelling need.
There has been an aggressive educational campaign such that now all shops and public places in all areas have hand cleaning facilities and sanitisers for people entering their premises.
Although on the surface people appear to be taking the measures lightly, the opposite is the case. People are now more aware of the dangers posed by Covid-19.
The bottom line is that Government will continue to review the situation on a regular basis and people should appreciate the efforts being put in to protect their health.
Covid-19 will only be contained if the nation works as one, and by this we mean trusting the Ministry of Health to guide us through this trying period.

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