EDITORIAL COMMENT

Schools are due for opening amid rising cases of COVID-19 across the world with South Africa announcing level 4 lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.

It was responsible and bold of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce lockdown to intensify efforts to flatten the curve.

But it’s a different scenario altogether in Zimbabwe, as the government is always late in reacting.

During the first wave, lockdown was announced after South Africa, but we could have done much better since all our cases were imported.

We allowed airports to operate as if everything was normal.

Zimbabwe has 13 148 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 354 deaths as of December 28, 2020.

Nationwide lockdown began on March 30 and extended in a slightly-eased version indefinitely on May 16. People must wear face masks in public. A 10pm – 6am curfew remains in force.

As of December 1, all new arrivals are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result issued within 48 hours. No option for testing upon arrival for travellers.

Borders remain open for cargo.

However, there have been incidents of COVID-19 regulations violation.

An example is Mashwede Village along High Glen Road in Glen View, Harare where it has been business as usual since Christmas Day.

While other governments announced regulations that affected everyone regardless of status and connections, in Zimbabwe your status and connections is a visa for you to operate even if you are not essential service.

Now, most likely schools are going to open as they did before despite education stakeholders and parliamentarians warning against it.

The undisputed truth is that we are not prepared, as a country, to deal with the pandemic as we have already exhibited signs of failure.

It’s only prudent for the government to start working on a plan to minimise and control the spread of coronavirus.

We have learnt that the new strain spreads faster and we should act on that.

For some reason, our response to COVID-19 is less informed by science and research.

No paper detailing scientific evidence has been produced. We are relying on data from other countries which have invested in research.

As far as vaccine acquisition is concerned, no tangible steps have been taken. Across the border, South Africa has paid R283 million deposit to secure COVID-19 vaccines.

Meanwhile, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seeking divine intervention. Not that prayer doesn’t work, but we need a plan Cde President.

It’s high time government takes issues seriously for a change. Other governments are rolling out massive testing but Zimbabwe is an exception.

As a country with an already strained healthcare system, prevention is better than cure should be the catch phrase.

There is inadequate personal protective equipment and sanitisers for nurses, let alone teachers and students.

Zimbabwe should close its borders, intensify lockdown measures, and roll out massive testing.

Reality is imported cases from South Africa are a time bomb.

Do you have a coronavirus story? You can email us on: news@alphamedia.co.zw