Editorial Comment

Prepare for the new normal

 

ZIMBABWE, like the rest of the world, must prepare for a post Covid-19 lockdown “new normal”. This comes on the back of the government’s announcement last week that re-opening of schools is inevitable.

What this entails is that there is need for all and sundry to prepare for the post-lockdown life. In a matter of time schools, among a host of other services that were deemed non-essential, will be opened up. More than ever, there is need for extra vigilance as there will be more vehicular and human traffic in town and around townships.

The proper wearing of masks, physical distancing, washing of hands, sanitising, amongst other preventative measures, should be strictly adhered to. This is particularly important given the threat of a third or even fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As schools are set to re-open, parents and teachers also need to be vigilant in enforcing adherence to Covid-19 preventative protocols to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmissions to children. The informal sector also re-opens today subject to adherence to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

As such, there is a need to balance the need to safeguard lives and livelihoods. Existing measures for workplaces should continue to apply. Employers should put in place measures to reduce close physical interactions among employees.

Tele-conferencing should continue to be used in place of physical meetings wherever possible. Where employees can perform their work by telecommuting from home, employers must ensure that they do so.

The authorities’ stance on safeguarding livelihoods by asking sole traders, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to meet WHO standards in order to re-open is commendable. This is essential as the euphoria of unrestricted movement as well the freedom to re-open industry and the economy might tempt people to override the need for self-discipline with regards to set guidelines to prevent the further spread of the deadly respiratory disease.

Given that the government has given sport the green light to return, it points to authorities’ willingness to further relax restrictions in human interactions. It is from this background that the need to enforce discipline amongst the general citizenry should be emphasised as the starting point of post-lockdown strategy. As for shops and public transport, there has to be strict enforcement of proper wearing of face masks as well sanitising.

More importantly, if any opportunity to get a vaccine presents, never miss it. It is the most responsible decision any  person can make to protect their families, loved ones and friends

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