Editor's Comment

Let’s fight common enemy with vigour

EIGHT more people have died of coronavirus bringing the total number of COVID-19-related deaths to 128.
And currently, 17 patients at Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital are on oxygen and five of them are said to be in a critical condition.
By yesterday, Zambia had recorded 3,326 coronavirus cases, with 128 deaths, while 1,620 have recovered and 1,578 others remain in various isolation centres.
Everyday numbers are being added either to those infected or those dying of the pandemic.
This is worrying. The numbers are slowly but surely swelling affecting all across social, political, economic and religious divides.
COVID-19 knows no discrimination. Whether young or old, everyone is a potential victim.
In the past few days, we have witnessed how the pandemic has permeated in various sectors leaving a trail of cases and deaths in some instances.
Politicians have not been spared as we have seen an upsurge in the number of Members of Parliament affected.
The National Assembly, a few days ago, announced that it had recorded 19 cases of COVID-19, out of which three were MPs.
Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya also announced that Mwansabombwe Member of Parliament Rodgers Mwewa died of COVID-19, though he had underlying conditions of hypertension and diabetes.
The corporate world, too, is not spared. Just a few days ago, Lafarge announced that 14 of its workers had tested positive.
Airtel Zambia closed its head office after one employee tested positive.
The sports fraternity, too, is no exception. Super Division side Forest Rangers on Saturday reported that 28 of their players had tested positive. Four players from Zesco United and Power Dynamos also tested positive.
Frontliners, who have given themselves to save lives, are being infected, too.
The disease is not a joke or hoax as people insinuated when it just broke out few months back.
This pandemic, if not well-handled, has potential to cause irreparable damage across all sectors of the country.
More terrifying is that it has potential to cause massive deaths and rob the country of skilled human capital.
Knowing that the pandemic affects everyone regardless of age, religious or political inclinations, or social and economic status, there is need for everyone to come on board and fight this common enemy.
Politicians and religious leaders should put their differences aside and work together to find ways of stopping the pandemic from causing further devastation.
Needless to say, Zambia, as a developing country, has no capacity to handle a pandemic of the magnitude that Western countries such as Italy, United Kingdom, Spain and USA are grappling with.
If these countries, with all their highly-developed health facilities and financial muscle, were devastated to the levels witnessed, we would not even want to imagine the impact on our fragile healthcare system and economy.
This is why we need to do all it takes to prevent further spread of the pandemic. This battle against COVID-19 is not for Government alone or the Minister of Health, it is for every responsible and progressive citizen.
Every citizen, at whatever level, has a duty to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 by firstly keeping themselves safe and, secondly, ensuring that they do not put other people’s lives at risk.
The fight against COVID-19 cannot be won if people put on an individualistic mindset. Every person must think of how their actions or inactions will affect the next person.
It is indisputable that the recent upsurge of cases is to a large extent due to complacency of most people in adhering to set health regulations.
While Government is providing the overall policy guidelines and healthcare, other stakeholders cannot afford to watch from the fence.
At family level, there is need for sensitisation and enforcement of health regulations and guidelines.
Why should it take police to enforce adherence to simple and straightforward rules of handwashing, sanitising, masking up and social distancing?
People should on their own understand that it is their lives at stake.
Families must also understand that if they neglect the duty to ensure the safety of their loved ones, they are the ones to lose out through death.
The Church must also take position and offer both material and spiritual support to the fight against the pandemic. Many people that have died belong to churches.
For civil society and other such organisations, it is time to prove their relevance by putting their weight behind Government in the fight.
As for politicians, this is not time for gaining political mileage but saving lives.
The corporate world must weigh into the fight. We know that others are already doing so much but those still yet to decide must come on board, too.
There is need to create a critical mass of support to fight this monster called COVID-19 before it causes more devastation to our country.
Where necessary, Government must move in to intensify already existing measures. If it means closing down some sectors again, if that is the only option left to save lives, then it must be done. Life is irreplaceable but wealth and other material things can be replaced with time.

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