War against COVID-19 far from over

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AFTER going for seven successive days without any new case of the novel coronavirus or Covid-19 Zambia suddenly recorded two positive tests.

This should be a reminder that the fight against this life-threatening pandemic is far from over and we all have to intensify our individual and collective resolve to defeat it.

Already, the country has lost two lives as a result of the Covid-19 and cannot afford to lose more. No single life should be lost as a result of complacency.

It is therefore disturbing to see people flouting the rules Government has introduced under statutory instruments with impunity. There are reckless and irresponsible people who are still determined to ignore the simple rules of avoiding crowding and washing hands regularly.

Other rules are that people should avoid unessential travel and the wearing of face masks in places where there are many people. Of course, many Zambians have taken the measures announced by President Edgar Lungu more about weeks ago serious and are observing them religiously.

Business houses, including small and medium-scale enterprises have also joined and are providing hand washing facilities and materials to their customers as their contribution to the fight against Covid-19.

This commendable, and we urge them to continue with this sense of patriotism.

But to those who are still bent on flouting the rules and therefore putting other people at risk our message is that their days are numbered.

They will have no one but themselves to blame should the law visit them as Dr Chilufya has warned. Such behaviour is frustrating efforts by the government, the corporate world and ordinary citizens to roll back the cases of Covid-19 and completely banish the virus out of Zambia.

We therefore do not have a choice but to support Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo’s tough approach towards the violators of the preventive measures.

Over the past few days social media and news reports have been full of images and videos of the Provincial minister accompanied by armed policemen whipping and rounding up members of the public found at various Lusaka venues including car wash parks, liquor stores, lodges and bars

Mr Lusambo has made it clear that he and his team will continue beating until people start adhering to the directive to stay home.

It is shameful to see people defying the simple rules and sneaking into bars to drink. Those hypocrites condemning the whipping of ‘rebels’ will be the first to accuse Government of not doing enough should Covid-19 related deaths suddenly spike.

Mr Lusambo is right by describing the call for him and the police to observe human rights as disappointing.

During his rounds of the capital city, Lusaka, to check on compliance, he says despite public warnings some people have continued locking themselves in bars and liquor shop to drink beer.

Over the past few days social media and news reports have been full of images and videos of the provincial minister accompanied by armed policemen whipping and rounding up members of the public found at various Lusaka venues including car wash parks, liquor stores, lodges and bars.

We agree with the minister that some stubborn residents have turned car parks into drinking places. Enforcers should not sit idle and watch people breaking the measures announced by President Lungu not long ago as part of the fight against Covid-19.

The Human Rights Commission should be mindful that some of the people condemning the use of minimum force to enforce the statutory instruments on Civid-19 are playing politics.

The Human Rights Commission has called for observance of respect for human rights during the enforcement of guidelines on preventing the spread of Corona virus.

HRC spokesperson Mwelwa Muleya said the commission was making the call against the background of numerous complaints it has received and its own observation on actions and public statements by some public officials advocating violation of human rights against individuals failing to comply with the guidelines on Covid19.

So, what is the HRC recommending? That those who are not willing to obey and observe the rules be left free to continue endangering their own lives as well as that of others?

We all need to be realistic as we fight this threat confronting us as a nation, as communities and as households. The earlier we banish the virus out of the country and record zero cases the better for our economy.

Already, the measures are taking a toll on the same bar owners and attendants who are struggling to make ends meet.

The Bars and Night Club Owners Association of Zambia (BNCOAZ) has observed that its members are among the worst hit as most of them do not have alternative sources of income.

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