Editor's Comment

Listen to experts


DESPERATE times call for desperate measures. Faced with an unprecedented peak in the COVID-19 infection rates, which are almost getting out of control, Government has taken some drastic actions in public interest. Yesterday, Zambia recorded the highest in terms of new cases and deaths. In the last 24 hours as at yesterday, there were 3,026 new COVID-19 cases out of 12,928 tests and 48 deaths. This is the worst the country has experienced since recording the first COVID-19 cases on March 18, 2020. Given this situation, Government had no choice but to intervene and strike a balance between the economy and the health of its citizens. Among the measures Government has taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the country include the closure of pre, primary and secondary schools for 21 days. Colleges and universities have been directed to start conducting classes virtually. Meetings and conferences have been suspended indefinitely while bars and nightclubs will continue operating from Friday to Sunday from 18:00 hours to 22:00 hours. Places of worship are directed that they can meet only twice in a week and for not more than one hour on each occasion.
Social gatherings have been restricted to 50 people, with all of them expected to observe COVID-19 guidelines, which include washing or sanitising hands regularly, social distancing and masking up. Eating places should revert to take-away only. The measures are not new. When the country registered its first COVID-19 cases in March last year, far-reaching measures were announced to save the country from the global pandemic.
Early actions to contain the spread of the virus last year included a myriad of measures such as the closure of schools and universities; suspension of non-essential foreign travel; mandatory quarantine for all foreign travellers; closure of bars, cinemas, and casinos; delivery and take-out for restaurants; restriction on public gatherings to at most 50 people; restriction on sports activities; a temporary lockdown on the towns of Kafue and Nakonde; and a partial closure of the border with Tanzania. But while these measures may now not be unusual for many, the concern is adherence to these directives. This is why it is vitally important for law enforcement agencies or organisations to heed Government’s directive that they ensure compliance. It is really strange that Government has to plead with some people to stay healthy. Many people, for instance, ignore the advice to mask up and will only do so when virtually forced to do so. Even when numbers of cases began to rise, some people fell for fake information that this disease was for selected humans. They continued to ignore advice. Zambia was warned about a third wave, which was bound to be more deadly than the first two combined. Evidence shows that this is the case. The third wave is more deadly, but it can be repelled. Not by wishful thinking, but by taking the right measures as guided by experts, not quacks. The health guidelines health authorities have given are simple enough for everyone to abide by. What cannot be guaranteed are sufficient medical services if numbers keep rising at a fast rate. Already bed spaces are running out, and even more critically, oxygen is in short supply. So don’t take chances with life in this manner. If citizens and corporates can adhere to the five golden rules, the country will be able to control the pandemic.

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