Govt decision masterstroke, but…

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government’s decision to extend the coronavirus lockdown indefinitely was a masterstroke, but can only bear positive results if measures are effected judicially and magisterially.

It is common cause that as a nation we are yet to establish with certainty how widespread the pandemic is in the country. What is palpable is that the cases of the deadly disease are going up and will soon worsen.

As of yesterday morning, we had 44 cases, including four deaths and 17 recoveries. The country recorded six cases inside two days – Friday and Saturday.

By merely looking at the statistics, one may get a false sense of security that the country is doing extremely well in containing the pandemic, which the World Health Organisation is worried may turn out to be an epidemic that we should learn to live with.

The statistics belie what is obtaining on the ground! Health experts fear that the pandemic is widespread. That the Health ministry has reported severally that some of the people who have tested positive to Covid-19 had no history of travel is worrying, really scary. It is also alarming to note that local transmissions are on the rise.

It is against this background that Mnangagwa and his government decided to extend indefinitely the lockdown.

The lockdown can only be successful if citizens adhere to measures put in place to contain the spread of the lethal disease, which has so far killed over 300 000 people and infected four million others worldwide, besides wreaking economies.

It is not only incumbent upon the government to ensure that the lockdown measures are adhered to, but it’s upon every citizen to save lives by doing the correct things.

Citizens must continue to social distance, wear masks, and limit unnecessary travels and stay indoors to mitigate against the pandemic.

Using instruments of coercion like arrests should be the last option for the government. Citizens have to behave for their own sake.

On its part, the government must intensify testing for coronavirus for the nation to determine the spread of the disease in the country. The government must do whatever is in its power to import enough test kits to embark on an expanded and expansive door-to-door testing drive if the country is to win this war.

The government must also avail safety nets to the vulnerable people in our society. Reports are galore that most people violate lockdown measures just to eke out a living under a punishing economic environment, worsened by Covid-19.

Mnangagwa and his government must consider food handouts for the suffering masses. Without food, citizens will continue to violate the lockdown measures.

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