Editorial

Reality of Covid-19

IT is now more than clear on the need for Zambians to take the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the country seriously, that it not just far-flung countries affected.
The news that two of the cases among the 36 that have been reported so far in the country are in high density areas of Lusaka should jolt people that the disease is in their midst.
Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya disclosed in Lusaka yesterday that one victim was from the human to human transmission, a driver who lives in Jack Compound while the other one is a maid from Chaisa compound.
Dr Chilufya said the latest case of the Covid-19 infected person is a 65-year old man who had also travelled to Pakistan, bringing the total number of infected people from Pakistan to 25.
Dr Chilufya said nine cases of the 36 are victims who came into close contact with the travellers from Pakistan. The two cases in Jack and Chaisa are a result of such contacts.
Our fear is that considering the teeming populations in these two townships and the absence of social distancing – even amidst Covid-19 cases – we are definitely sitting on a time bomb.
Life in the two townships, like most highly populated areas in the country, has continued as before, with people going about their daily routines in the market places and streets than staying at home.
The most vulnerable, the children are everywhere, playing unhindered in the squalid surroundings. We agree with the Minister of Health on the need to desperately interrupt the transmission circle to prevent the spread of the virus especially in densely populated compounds in Lusaka.
“In Zambia today we can say that we don’t just have imported cases, we have cases from person to person transmission and that should be alarming and should change our course of direction,” Dr. Chilufya said.
For most people in Chaisa and Jack compounds, advising them to stay home is easier said than done. We can only appeal to the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to step up sensitization programmes in these areas.
And judging by the manner that Zambians live, it is obvious that the two cases in Jack and Chaisa might result in more infections from the manner that residents mingle.
It is this vein that we support the observation of Vice President InongeWina that the increasing cases of Covid-19 particularly in Lusaka require new strategies and sustained efforts from all stakeholders to prevent the spread of the virus.
Speaking after Dr Chilufya announced the 36th case of the Covid-19 pandemic in Zambia during a council of ministers meeting held online, Ms Wina said there was need to tighten measures to stop the spread of the virus.
Although Government has so far ruled out a total lockdown, it is pleasing that in general, some companies and even the public service itself has adopted pre-emptive measures, among them reducing the number of workers operating from the work places.
If anything, Zambians must not close their eyes to what is obtaining in some African countries in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
They must brace themselves that life might not always be as they have known it to be, that should they not on their own try to limit the risks of being infected, then harsh measures might be introduced.
During yesterday’s meeting, MsWina said: “Time has come for us to review the measures that were put in place recently to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from internal and external forces.
“We are fighting an enemy we cannot see and do not know therefore there is need to tighten measures to stop the spread of the virus.”
This in a nutshell should remind those who want to ignore expert advice from medical authorities that they should not blame anyone when Government adopt drastic measures.
Life is sacred.

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