Editor's Comment

Let politicians join COVID-19 fight

FILE: HEALTH workers at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. PICTURE: ZANIS

THIS week, two cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) were confirmed in Zambia but none of the patients has died.
Government can do its part and the public theirs. On its part, Government has put in place rules and regulations in addition to continued surveillance, public awareness campaigns and healthcare provisions, which must be strengthened to contain the further spread of COVID-19.
On their part, members of the public must comply with Government regulations and advice from health experts regarding preventive measures such as observing personal hygiene religiously as well as maintaining a social distance.
COVID-19 poses a serious threat to life.
The World Health Organisation’s advice to people around the world is not to assume that your community will not be affected. Prepare as if it will be.
WHO also says do not assume that you will not be infected. Prepare as if you will be.
Therefore, the measures Government has put in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 are not safety valve enough.
Given the breadth and width of the country, everybody needs to get involved because not every citizen has access to radio, television or a mobile phone to be aware about the disease, which has overwhelmed the world.
There are millions out there who may not have heard about COVID-19, which has affected 209,839 people in 169 countries, areas or territories with 8,778 confirmed deaths.
That is why National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Steve Nyirenda is urging all political party leaders to get involved.
There is need to educate people so that they are empowered with information on COVID-19.
Political parties have political structures and enjoy large followings with good communication channels. So they can easily sensitise their followers and engage communities.
The call by the NAREP president is important because it will encourage and support Government on the positive steps being taken and also offer suggestions where they see weaknesses or gaps.
Three days ago, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged opposition political parties to discuss the national response to the COVID-19 disaster.
Opposition leaders were given an opportunity to respond to the outcome of the meeting, where EFF leader Julius Malema urged private hospitals to work with government.
The meeting was a perfect example of the opposition buying into the government programme and setting aside political differences for the sake of the country.
Zambian politicians can for once emulate the gesture by South African political players in addressing matters of mutual interest.
With Parliament on recess due to COVID-19, lawmakers are expected to hit the ground running in their constituencies talking about how the disease is now infecting people at a faster pace.
They should encourage their supporters to adhere to guidance given by health experts. Therefore, they need to advise their members to preach the same message to communities.
People should be told to avoid unnecessary trips outside and within the country until the pandemic is over. They should also avoid larger gatherings and other functions as guided.
Today, let them clean up markets and neighbourhoods without political boundaries.
Celebrities such as musicians, sportsmen and women should also join in sensitising citizens about COVID-19.
For once, citizens should rise above partisan politics, ethnic differences and religious divides to help combat this pandemic.

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