The gravity of the situation that Zimbabwe finds itself in with regards the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be over-emphasised.
That the country is sitting on a time bomb is not in doubt. It is, however, the lack of urgency in the government’s response and the casual manner that citizens seem to treat this threat to life which is worrisome.
It would seem that many people still treat Covid-19 and especially the resurgent deadly new strain of the virus as a joke.
Events of the past festive week were frightful and a cause of serious concern. Multitudes thronged wild parties and beer outlets opened and operated non-stop without Covid protocols while churches and other social gatherings went about their business with no sign of acknowledgement of the new scourge scare.
Elsewhere in urban residential areas, central business districts and even out in rural areas, people went about their lives as if everything were normal.
People are moving about without wearing masks, treating hand sanitising as some unnecessary and boring routine and ignoring the social distancing requirement completely.
Of particular concern, however, is the apparent absence of care by the government whose obligation it is to ensure that citizens’ lives are protected through adequate awareness of dangers to life and also by effecting measures to protect its people.
While acknowledging the danger that comes with the resurgence of the new coronavirus strain emerging from South Africa, and the sudden rise in infection figures, the government had, as of yesterday, done nothing other than deferring the opening of schools tomorrow, itself a welcome move though.
We expect to see the government pronouncing itself more urgently in the education of people about the looming danger and enforcement of rules that will save lives. The need to get buy-in from citizens is critical in winning the war against this pandemic.
There are many people that still believe Covid is a hoax and that face masks and sanitisers will not protect you. They still believe there is no harm in physical greetings or hugs — and that social distancing is not practical. Many people will die because of this ignorance and government will have to take blame as they should.
In the interest of life, there is need for government to consider revisiting movement restrictions and other lockdown regulations including behavioural rules to minimise infection. It is important though for government to clamp down on corruption that we have seen creeping in during enforcement of Covid regulations.
When police take money to allow wild parties such as were seen on New Year’s eve, we will be reversing all the efforts that the nation may have put in arresting the spread of Covid. Police have become known to demand money to allow people to move around without masks or without legitimate reason for travelling.
This needs to be stopped. Covid spells life and death.