Letter to the Editor

K750 COVID-19 fine too much

A laboratory worker places a test tube containing a patient's sample into a box during coronavirus detection tests in the virology research labs at UZ Leuven university hospital in Leuven, Belgium, on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. China has kick-started a clinical trial to speedily test a drug for the novel coronavirus infection as the nation rushes therapies for those afflicted and scours for vaccines to protect the rest. Photographer: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dear editor,
TO curb the rising cases of the deadly COVID-19, there is a directive that compels everyone to mask up immediately they leave their home.
Failure to adhere to the directive attracts a fine of K750 or six months imprisonment which is in principle a welcome initiative because people have not been following the safety guidelines as prescribed by Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya, his colleagues and, indeed, the World Health Organisation.
However, in my view, looking at the financial status of most Zambians, very few will afford to pay the K750, which is too much.
Most Zambians are already having challenges to buy the mandatory masks, how will they manage to pay? Meaning most of them will end up serving the six months jail term.
If that happens, do we have enough prisons to accommodate all those who will be handed a custodial sentence and practice social distancing in our prisons?
In my view, the demand to pay K750 for those found wanting is beyond the reach of many. Instead, Government should endeavour to earnestly sensitise the citizens on the need to mask up so that they keep themselves, their families and communities safe from this deadly disease.
Intensive sensitisation and awareness should be the way to go!
MILDRED MAKASA
Lusaka



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