Covid-19 is a collective responsibility: Let us all play our part

by Brian Dlamini

A perusal of the Zimbabwe Covid-19 daily update compiled by the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) gives insight into the statistics of the deadly pandemic which is still infecting and claiming more Zimbabweans with each passing day. This calls for the public to continue to be vigilant and take all the precautionary measures as spelt out by the health authorities and World Health Organisation (WHO).

Zimbabwe reported its first Covid-19 case in March 2020 and since then, the nation like the rest of the world is still grappling with the effects of this deadly pandemic.

Currently, the nation has been hard hit by the second wave of this killer disease. The daily figures are certainly not looking good and are steadily rising everyday with over 30 000 cumulative cases and 1152 deaths recorded so far. This past week saw a daily average of 300 new cases, mostly being local transmissions.

Thus, it is imperative that at this juncture the public must compliment Government efforts, by appreciating that doing so saves their own precious lives.

This calls for the public to play a positive role in curbing the spread of the disease. The citizens are still encouraged to observe basic precautions such as wearing their masks properly in public places, maintain social distance rules, continue sanitising their hands, avoiding unnecessary travelling and staying at home when one is not part of the essential services, among others.  

 The public must continue to adhere to lockdown regulations and curfew orders which has since been extended to the 15th of February 2021. On 19 January 2021, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) had to issue a strong worded press statement warning lockdown and curfew violators following a revealation  that 7082 had been arrested throughout the country for violating movement restrictions and 11 171 were arrested for the improper wearing of masks. ZRP National Spokesperson bemoaned that the public was not complying with curfew orders put in place by Government early this month.

Another cause for concern is the proliferation of fake news on Covid-19. The public must be wary of fake news and stop spreading falsehoods mainly on social media platforms.

Last week, social media and other private media publications such as the Zimbabwe Independent were awash with falsehoods that Acting President, Constantino Chiwenga was unwell and had been airlifted to China for medical treatment and VP Kembo Mohadi was also said to be unwell. Other prominent ZANU PF top officials such as National Political Commissar, Victor Matemadanda and Secretary for Finance, Patrick Chinamasa were alleged to have succumbed to Covid-19.

This week, social media users such as Government critic, Professor Jonathan Moyo and Zimlive editor, Mduduzi Mathuthu were fixated on tracking a plane alleged to have left Harare for Dubai and was said to have airlifted Sakunda boss, Kuda Tagwirei who was seriously ill from Covid-19.

The public must also be wary of fake drugs peddlers. Unverified reports indicate that following the approval of the ivermectin drug by Government to treat Covid-19, fake drugs alleged to be ivermectin are now being sold on the black market.

So far, Government has played its part by introducing various cocktail measures to stop the spread of the Covid-19, which include distribution of personal protective clothing (PPEs) to medical personnel, decentralizing the Covid-19 testing to provinces, introducing national lockdowns and curfews, suspension of cross order travel, banning of gatherings, among other measures.

Government has also assured citizens that it is in the process of securing Covid-19 vaccines that will be availed to two thirds of the population and this is a welcome development.

Going forward, the public must continue to take heed of President Mnangagwa’s clarion call for Zimbabweans to work together ad show a common unity of purpose if we are to defeat this disease.