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LIKE the proverbial Ostrich, some Zambians have continued to hide their heads in the sand in the mistaken belief that it would drive Covid-19 away.

But the stark reality is that Covid-19 is real.

While the government through the Ministry of Health has managed to keep the pandemic in check so far, the dangers are still there.

This means that the country cannot afford to relax in it adherence to the Covid-19 health protocols.  If anything, they should be stepped up.

Yesterday’s disclosure that Zambia is among the top six countries in Africa with the highest new Covid-19 cases as the country recorded 558 new cases in the last 24 hours is a grim reality reminder of the danger lurking.

This is the highest number recorded in over two months since the country came out of the second wave, said Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary – Technical Services, Dr Kennedy Malama.

Dr Malama said the number of people on oxygen therapy had swelled to 77 while one person died at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital in Lusaka.

He warned that from the epidemiological reviews it was clear that the Covid-19 scenario was worsening daily and the coming few weeks would be critical.

But it might be very frustrating to the health professionals that while they are trying to save lives and prevent a major disaster in the country’s health delivery system, there are some cynics doubting the genuineness of the statistics.

They have gone as far as claiming that the statistics are cooked up to stop the opposition parties from campaigning in the run up to the August 12 elections.

But as Dr Malama questioned yesterday, “Why should I come here and tell the nation that we recorded 558 cases of Covid-19 when actually it’s two?

So what we are informing the Zambian people is that ‘this is the situation in our country,’ informed by the testing we are doing and the results we are getting,” Dr Malama said.

President Edgar Lungu also added his voice to the growing controversy over political campaigns ahead of the August elections.

Speaking in Kawambwa, President Lungu said the government’s position to curtail political crowds in the wake of the increasing Covid-19 cases is not targeted at the opposition but meant to avert a catastrophic situation

He said Government could not allow Covid-19 to ravage Zambia out of carelessness just because it was a political season.

The health disaster that has ravaged India, now reporting over 4, 000 deaths daily was largely as a result of the authorities dropping their guard and allowing political campaign rallies and religious gatherings to be held.

What India is reaping are the large numbers of people dying not only in hospitals but in their homes.

The hospitals cannot meet with the demand for oxygen, such that patients cannot even be admitted.

Closer home, Kenya and South Africa have just enforced stringent measures in an effort to curtail Covid-19.  Both countries have extended the daily curfew hours.

In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that as part of the regulations indoor gatherings have been reduced from 250 to 100, outdoor events will now accommodate 250 people instead of 500, or 50 percent of their capacity if the venue is too small. 

But in Zambia, we have politicians wanting to endanger the lives of not only their members but the general population by insisting on huge mass rallies.

We therefore want to urge people to make a wise choice and safeguard their health by maintaining the health protocols and avoid risking their lives attending mass rallies.

By now, we all know what each political party stands for and do not need to attend a rally to decide on who to vote for.

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