Health Ministe, Dr Chitalu Chilufya
THE country is heading for a covid catastrophe. We have already been warned. The projection by the Ministry of Health that Zambia is likely to have 20,000 health facility admissions and 1000 deaths per day in the coming months due to COVID-19 calls for serious concern and collective action from all well-meaning citizens.
The worrying projection is attributed to people’s laxity in adhering to preventive guidelines against the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the cold weather.
During the COVID-19 routine update ON Wednesday, Minister of Health, Chitalu Chilufya said the country had seen a rise in both cases and deaths in the last few days, an indication that the pandemic has taken a new twist.
Dr Chilufya said who projected 20,000 admissions and 1,000 deaths said Zambia was in a dangerous surge of the virus due to the cold weather and that high cases may be persistent until August.
He cautioned the nation that the virus had the propensity to strike with another wave of infection if health preventive regulations and requirements are not followed to the latter
“We project that with the current laxity we see, we maybe recording up to 20,000 health facility admissions and may reach up to 900-1,000 deaths per day if we do not change the way we do things as a community,” Dr Chilufya said.
With over 3,500 cumulative figures and 128 deaths of confirmed Covid-19 infections so far recorded, drastic steps have to be taken to slow the further spread of the pandemic, otherwise the country risks seeing a rise in cases and deaths.
The current prevailing situation could get out of control if there is continued abrogation of preventive measures such as movement restrictions, compulsory wearing of masks in public, prohibition of huge gathering of people and observing social distancing requirements.
Without beating about the bush, these figures point to laxity in the guard by the majority, at a time when the Government is stepping up measures to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Indeed, failure to comply with the preventive measures is a recipe for disaster which would result in the deaths of many citizens. Collective action is needed in order to contain the pandemic before it completely infiltrate our communities.
Beyond the role that the Government is doing to protect its people against the devastating effects of Covid-19, individuals should fight in their corners by being disciplined, abide by the rules and make a personal commitment to protect others.
We therefore call on our fellow citizens to ensure they are observing health prevent measures and rules that had been put in place by the Government, bearing in mind that any slip up may have tragic consequences.
While mobility restrictions are eased for some workers, employers must also implement the minimum health protocols and requirements to ensure that workers are safe.
People should avoid unnecessary movement. Movement restrictions are not a punishment.
It is critical to maintain these and avoid affecting others because of the carelessness of a few.
Violation of movement restrictions is not only a dangerous practice, but also a recipe for disaster which could result in multiple chains of transmissions.
It is therefore important that the community vigilance is enhanced to help neighbors conform to physical distancing, especially in foregoing parties to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and fiestas.
We have, however, noted with great concern the laxity on covid-19 preventive measures in markets, bus stations, and in public service vehicles where people are not putting on masks, thereby, putting everyone at risk.
COVID-19 is real and not a hoax and if people continue with their attitude of disregarding the health guidelines, the country will surely continue seeing a rise in cases and deaths as projected by the Minister of Health.
And once the pandemic spreads, with many people not aware of their status, containment would become impossible.