Authorities should be on high alert this Easter

by | Mar 29, 2021 | COVID 19 | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi

Zimbabwe is one of the countries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The country has lost lives to the disease, in addition to unquantifiable economic losses due to prolonged lockdowns.

It will be remembered that Zimbabwe, like many other countries in the world faces its own economic challenges emanating from effects of the pandemic and the burden of Western sanctions.

The country has however made commendable strides in the management and control of the disease, having recorded a modest 35000 positive cases and 1500 deaths countrywide since the pandemic broke out in Wuhan, China, in August 2019.

It will be important to note that the country, however, suffered its most devastating loss of life in the aftermath of an influx of returning residents for the festive season in December 2020.

The country was caught unprepared for the steep spike in infection rates.

But is this coming Easter holiday any different?

Could we really say Zimbabwe has truly turned the corner?

Here are the facts.

Zimbabwe embarked on an aggressive vaccination program in the early weeks of March 2021.

Covid-19 third wave has begun hitting many European countries and some have already started re-imposing stricter lockdown.

The current third wave is more powerful and lethal than its predecessors.

What this means is that world populations are not covered by the current regime of vaccines being administered globally.

This exposes people to a greater risk of infection and risk of loss of life will be increased.

Bearing in mind that the winter season in Zimbabwe starts late March to early April, this heightens chances of new infections as the virus thrives more in cold weather.

Zimbabwean population is not protected against the lethal South African variant of the Covid-19 virus, because the current vaccines were not formulated for that variant.

So how will the nation protect its people from cross-border transmission and infections?

It is imperative for the country’s leaders to stare reality in the face and adopt radical measures to contain this pandemic and save lives.

The country can not afford to appease travellers and shop owners across the bridge while endangering millions of at home.

At the moment the economy is still recovering and thus our hospital capacity can not handle an influx of Covid-19 patients.

Our citizens in South Africa must appreciate that the risk that we face right now outweighs all and any need for social gatherings and interactions.

Cross border travel should be limited to only extremely necessary cases. The risk is not worth it.

Even those of a religious inclination at encouraging restraint.

Civic Society and Churches Joint Forum has called on due care in the decision-making preceding border reopening.

“Zimbabwe has already been under lockdown for a year now, therefore closing borders for a few days during Easter holiday will not affect anything.

We are aware that this is a religious holiday but saving lives comes first. Travel and gatherings can wait until we have successfully defeated this virus as a global community.

Lockdowns are not a new phenomenon anymore and we expect all reasonable people to understand that it is for the greater good of the nation.

Therefore as Civic Society and Churches Joint Forum we urge our people to exercise restraint when it comes to unnecessary travel and gatherings.

If new restrictions are announced, we urge everyone to take heed for the well-being of our society,” said CSCJF leader Ms Abigale Mupambi.

To date Zimbabwe has received a total of 600000 doses of the Sinopharm Vaccine and as yet less than 100000 people have been vaccinated.

This means that Zimbabwe is still a far cry from the desired sixty percent vaccination to achieve desired national herd immunity.

As such Zimbabwe can not afford to allow an influx of cross-border travelers into the country.
Closing the borders is the right thing to do.

The Zimbabwean economy has shown incredible resilience, registering growth in local production as the nation adopted an inward-looking approach to productivity, procurement and consumption.

This is a good report for a country that used to resemble a giant supermarket for imported goods.

Zimbabweans should quickly adapt to new reality and move out of denial and complacency and continue adhering to preventive protocols.