Enforce measures without fail

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday announced a raft of measures to contain and mitigate the spread of the killer novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic at the backcloth of increasing deaths from the disease and a huge spike in local transmissions.

In his televised address to the nation, Mnangagwa highlighted the stark reality that as of Tuesday, the country had 1 713 positive cases, up from 985 the previous week, translating to a 600 cases jump in seven days. The number of deaths had gone up to 26 from 18 within the same period.

Local transmissions had also exceeded imported cases, the former at 872, and the latter at 841. Very scary statistics! Worryingly, most cases of local transmissions were untraceable; more and more being reported at work places — highlighting that the pandemic is now firmly and spreading within our borders.

“Therefore, this sobering reality means that we can no longer be complacent, and that requires urgent and decisive measures,” Mnangagwa told the nation. “These urgent and necessary measures will entail curtailing the freedoms we have always enjoyed, and had grown accustomed to. From now on, these freedoms stand suspended and deferred, in the interest of all of us; indeed in the interest of our children and our nation which must survive, thrive and prosper beyond this pandemic. No responsible government places its citizens in harm’s way, hence my government will do all it can to preserve and protect the right to life.”

He had to act, and act expeditiously before a catastrophe hits the homeland.
Mnangagwa imposed a 6pm to 6am curfew with effect from yesterday; non-working class was banned from entering central business districts; business operating hours were set at 8am to 3pm; public gatherings remain banned; and criminalised desertion from quarantine centres, among other measures.

Mnangagwa and his government’s decisions are commendable, but it is one thing to come up with sound measures to contain Covid-19, and another in enforcing them. We have noticed with concern that earlier measures to fight the pandemic have gone largely un-implemented and observed. Most people, especially in high density suburbs, growth points and rural areas, often go around without wearing face masks and they practice social distancing.

In most of these areas, it is business as usual. Bars and night clubs are operating full-time; large numbers of people continue to gather for funerals, family functions and social soccer, among other activities.

Police and army visibility in these areas is almost nonexistent.

It is our clarion call that this time around, the government should ensure enforcement of the measures Mnangagwa announced on Tuesday. It is also incumbent upon citizens to do what is right to save lives. The time for complacency is over!

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