Monday 8 March 2021
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newsday - 14 days ago

Let’s behave, or we all perish

WHILE the country might be heaving a sigh of relief as a result of the declining COVID-19 infections and deaths, the funeral of the late dancehall singer-cum-liberation hero Soul “Soul Jah Love” Musaka at the weekend demonstrated how fickle such gains are without common sense prevailing in our daily lives. First, there was the four-day funeral wake which could have been a superspreader after it attracted large numbers of mourners who blatantly ignored the regulations put in places to contain the virus. Given our fragile healthcare system, we cannot afford to dice with death by taking this disease lightly. Those who think we are safe just because of the slump in new infections and fatalities need to think again. The whole funeral saga could have seriously crippled the fight against the pandemic and wiped any gains we have made as a country. That the country is currently on level four of the COVID-19 induced national lockdown as part of a raft of measures to curb its spread  and  has been extended to March 5, is an indication of the hazards posed by the scourge. To this effect, a public gathering such as a funeral has to be attended by no more than 30 people. Even national heroes who, under normal circumstances, attract bumper crowds, are receiving low-profile burials as a safety measure against the spread of the disease. Thousands of people made up mainly of unmasked youths, however, attended Soul Jah Love’s funeral proceedings without observing the regulations put in place by our own health professionals and the World Health Organisation. Given that the country’s health delivery system is on life support and the emergence of the more deadly South African variant of the virus, the carelessness exhibited by those who attended the funeral could have deadly ramifications. While the country might be on the right path in terms of curbing the spread of the virus, the behaviour of these mourners could trigger a major upsurge in new infections and fatalities. Citizens must be cautious and behave in a responsible manner. We still have a great chance to defeat this beast if we take the necessary but painful steps to follow the stipulated guidelines. Although it is the duty of the police to enforce the laws, but the responsibility lies within the individuals. The police must be applauded for how they have managed to deal with the defiant mourners without which the situation would have deteriorated. Zimbabwe’s means to fight this disease are limited, but if we work together with the authorities and co-operate, we can conquer it.


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