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NO TIME TO RELAX

THE findings of the Lusaka City Council Public Health Committee at the poor or rather non-adherence to Covid-19 guidelines by night clubs do not surprise us.

Night clubs have since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out almost two years ago failed to heed guidelines from the Ministry of Health.

Even when the government ordered that the night clubs and other drinking places be closed, some night clubs never ceased operating.

They still found a way of ensuring that their patrons could enter the facilities.  The gates remained closed but people were able to gain access. 

And since they were operating illegally, their clients continued to behave like there was no Covid-10 ravaging the world.

That is still the state of affairs as confirmed by the Lusaka City Council Public Health Committee.

LCC public health committee chairperson Daniel Mwewa has stated that in most drinking places in Lusaka, people enter the premises without face masks and are able to shake hands as they feel no one is watching them.

Yes, Mr. Mwewa is right that it is important for night club owners to be responsible enough to ensure that the Covid-19 guidelines are observed.

While we agree with Mr Mwewa that night clubs must adhere to the health guidelines, this is not possible without enforcement by the health authorities.

We recall how in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic then Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo would make snap inspection tours of drinking places operating illegally when they were supposed to be closed.

But after the government has eased the restrictions on their operations in regards to the operating hours, there has not been any sustained attempt by the health authorities to check on their compliant levels.

In night clubs, it has been like there is no threat of Covid-19 as the places are packed with revellers particularly at weekends.

Mr Mwewa is spot on to remind and warn the night club owners that if they do not adhere to the instructions of government, the law will visit them and take its course.

He adds that some night club owners have been summoned by the council and the local authority will ensure that Covid-19 guidelines are adhered to.

The nation cannot afford to relax in its fight against Covid-19 having gone through the third wave especially that stretched the country’s health facilities to the limit.

There is still danger looming even though there is a vaccination programme in place now against Covid-19.

Again, the public ought to be reminded that being vaccinated is not a greenlight to being careless and disregard health protocols, that one becomes immune. 

Still, the government must continue to encourage as many people as possible to be vaccinated and at the same time step up sensitisation against Covid-19.

It is true that even though the infection rate has dropped drastically, it is still not the time to relax.  Dropping our guard is inviting more Covid-19 infections.

It is in this vein that we encourage the Lusaka City Council Public Health Committee, and their colleagues in other districts not to relent in ensuring that public places, which are super spreaders observe the health protocols to the letter.

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