Editor's Comment

Take measures on COVID-19 seriously

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

ON TUESDAY, Government announced the closure of universities, colleges and schools, intensified screening at entry points and restrict gatherings in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
After confirmation of two COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, Government has announced more measures to mitigate further spread of the disease.
Government has restricted church gatherings to an hour while operation of bars and night clubs has been reduced by two hours.
“Bars and nightclubs are instructed to immediately reduce operating period by two hours. Churches and other religious gatherings will reduce the number of people in each session and meet for a maximum of one hour,” Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said.
The measures taken by Government are inevitable considering the dire situation the country is in.
The country cannot afford to be laid back amid threats of coronavirus, the disease that has shaken the entire world, including super powers.
Desperate situations call for desperate measures. Whatever needs to be done to overcome the challenge before us must be done regardless of the cost.
While Government is working tirelessly to put in place measures to safeguard life, it takes the involvement of citizens for the measures to yield intended results.
In view of the high risks that coronavirus poses, we urge all citizens to strictly adhere to the measures Government has prescribed.
We expect churches to lead by example by doing what is good for their members and the country as a whole.
We also expect bar owners and patrons to respect Government’s decision by sticking to the prescribed operating hours.
It is worth noting that the threat of coronavirus is real. COVID-19, which broke out in China last December, has affected over 200,000 people in over 150 countries and killed over 8,000 people. About 34 African countries, with Zambia being the latest, have recorded 306 cases and 16 deaths.
We, therefore, expect members of the public to be more concerned about their own safety than anybody else. If anything, individuals should avoid crowded places or any other areas that pose a risk of contracting coronavirus.
As advised by Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs Godfridah Sumaili, churches should consider promoting home-based fellowships instead of big gatherings.
Miracle Life Family Church has announced that instead of a normal gathering, they will stream their church service live on Facebook for congregants to follow. This is the way to go. Those who drink too should also consider drinking from the comfort of their homes.
And while trade must continue in markets and shopping malls, high standards of hygiene must be maintained. It is good that Government is launching the ‘Keep Markets Clean’ campaign on Saturday and Sunday to promote cleanliness in trading places.
Actually this programme needs to be taken as a daily routine by traders. Keeping these places clean is a matter of life and death. Traders must understand that if coronavirus spreads further, trade will be affected. Infact, no one will still be able to trade as witnessed in some parts of the world worst hit by the disease.
As advised, shopping malls should provide handwashing facilities to mitigate any further spread of the disease. Bus operators too should provide hand sanitisers for commuters.
So far, Government must be commended for being on top of things. We have been assured that the couple that tested positive to coronavirus is recovering well and that eight of their close contacts are currently in self-quarantine and are being followed up for COVID-19.
It is also good that the Zambia National Public Health Institute is in touch with the 82 passengers who disembarked from the aeroplane where the affected couple was.
Dr Chilufya said over 29,000 people coming into the country have been screened, out of whom 2,258 came from high-risk areas.
He said of the 2,258, over 400 have been cleared under 14 days quarantine and that the country had not recorded any new case as of yesterday.
This is evidence that Government is on top of things.

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