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It’s time to adapt

AS THE number of coronavirus cases increase, it has become inevitable for Government to revise measures intended to stop the transmission of the disease code-named COVID-19.
Announcing that the numbers of COVID-19 cases have increased to 12 from three, President Edgar Lungu spelt out the escalated measures to be taken in efforts to keep the deadly disease at bay.
These measures include restaurants to operate only on a take-away and delivery basis; and bars, nightclubs, cinemas, gyms and casinos to close with effective tonight.
Other measures are suspending all international flights to and from Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula in Livingstone, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe in Ndola and Mfuwe international airports.
All international flights should land at and depart from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport only, to ensure efficient and effective screening of travellers, as well as following them up by health authorities.
The measures announced by the President yesterday shall be effected from midnight and shall be observed for the initial period of 14 days.
However, Government shall constantly review these measures depending on how the pandemic evolves.
With the President lending his voice to the advice on the need to observe the given health measures, all denizens in the country MUST comply.
As we have said before in this column, this is no time to think that this epidemic is at a distant. It is hear and it is real. Everyone must play their part to keep it at bay.
It ought to be known by now that this invisible enemy can be contracted and transmitted by anyone. It is not selective as evidenced by some prominent people it has struck in other parts of the world.
There are thousands of other people, most of them ‘unknown’, who are dying, some through no fault of theirs. But there could be many others who have fallen sick and died because they ignored medical advice.
This should not be allowed to happen in Zambia. Medical authorities have proactively disseminated information on dos and don’ts about this disease, so few, if any, can say they do not know what to do.
Yet, we have seen scores, if not hundreds, of people ignoring advice such as limiting the number of people in churches and bars. As the President has said, he has seen this kind of crowding in Lusaka. It is the same in virtually all parts of the country.
It is, therefore, only right that drastic measures such as closing bars and restaurants be taken.
Thankfully, some restaurants have already effected the measure of restricting their services to takeaways. A lot more, though, can and should be done.
Markets and malls are still busy. At most malls and shops, customers and workers are compelled to sanitise their hands but the same cannot be said about all markets, especially those in densely populated townships. These are high-risk areas which must be dealt with differently.
There are some who contend that Zambia should go on a lockdown. This is understandable, but measures taken to stop the disease should not be more painful than the effects of the ailment itself.
In Zambia, a day without activity means no food for many households who live hand-to-mouth.
It is easier for other countries which have resources to go on a lockdown during which the Government supplements supplies to the needy and most vulnerable.
That notwithstanding, however, Zambians should be ready for any kind of measure to be taken.
Whatever model Zambia adopts to fight coronavirus, community participation is a must.
Citizens should vigorously adhere to the health guidelines of frequently washing hands, sanitising, cleaning the environment, not shaking hands and observing social distances.
Public places such as markets, shops, malls and offices should also be disinfected regularly besides the provision of hand sanitisers at the entry points.
Eating healthy foods and exercising are also critical to defeating COVID-19.
Citizens should be each other’s brother and sisters’ keeper and encourage one another to seek medical attention whenever one feels unwell and exhibits flu like symptoms.
Together, Zambia can fight and conquer the coronavirus disease.