IN what can only be described as sheer madness, reports coming out of the Copperbelt suggest that a combined team of Kitwe City Council public health inspectors and the Zambia Police closed five premises that were operating as bars.
The closed premises operated as bars against the Presidential directive to observe health guidelines in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
It is baffling that despite the heavy strain that coronavirus has placed on our shoulders and the disruption to daily life, people still deem it fit to risk their health and livelihoods by going against a Presidential Directive aimed at bringing an end to Covid-19.
It is simple mathematics. Zero contact, zero infection.
The entire country has been directed to stay at home to avoid the continued spread of this deadly virus.
Children have been out of school, offices closed, public gatherings and travel restricted all in a bid to protect our lives.
It is disheartening that the desire to risk arrest and possible death is driven by thirst for alcohol.
Some people in Kitwe and other parts of the Copperbelt have continued hosting patrons in large numbers behind closed doors in bars, night clubs and lodges without due regard to health guidelines.
Additionally, they have engaged watchmen who raise alarm each time they see police officers or a council team patrolling the areas.
Such behavior is simply mind boggling, that a group of people continually and recklessly provide a vehicle for the potential spread of the deadly virus despite all evidence pointing to the fact that Covid-19 is still present.
Business owners are equally unconscionable.
How can any objective trader allow for such total abandon of public health guidelines?
Kitwe City Council Public Relations Officer Nelly Nkolongo, said it was unfortunate that some people had continued opening their night clubs and bars which were supposed to remain closed during the COVID-19 period.
We applaud the local authority for going flat out and warning errant business entities.
“The local authority will not hesitate to take legal action against bar owners who have continued to operate despite warning notices served on them to stop operating against the public health guidelines,” she said.
Ms Nkolongo said that the local authority was working with the Zambia Police to deal with patrons found in places that were operating as bars or night clubs.
She warned that bars which were operating, reversing Government efforts in fighting the pandemic would be closed down.
However, a random survey showed that many bars in the city were still opening though with caution despite several warnings from the local authority.
Kitwe residents need to bear in mind that Covid-19 is a deadly disease and while recovery rates are good, it is not a diseases that anyone should wish to suffer.
Recently, the Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya announced the Kitwe Central Hospital will begin undertaking Covid-19 tests – it would be unfortunate if this facility revealed a new epicenter.
We already know that an infected person can silently spread the virus when in public. And it is a fact that many of the Covid-19 fatalities are amongst our senior citizens and persons living with hypertension and diabetes.
The amount of medical intervention required to treat severe cases of Covid-19 has placed a heavy burden on the front liners.
It is not fair for the patrons of these night clubs to conduct themselves in such a manner. Those few hours spent downing drinks have definitely contributed to the death of a mother, sister, father and in some cases medical personnel.
The love for alcohol should not define our society and such headlines should not even be seen.
Let us all co-operate in bringing an end to the deadly Covid-19. Stay home and stay safe.