No time for political capital

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WE applaud the bold step taken by the Government to extend the lockdown by another two weeks to May 3 despite the clamouring for its end from some business quarters.

Perhaps this will help drive home to Zimbabweans that their Government is taking this virus menace very seriously. 

Indeed it has to.

The apparent reluctance by a large number of people to abide by prescribed measures meant to curb the spread of this lethal virus is disturbing. 

So many people don’t bother to observe the maintenance of social distance between any two people.

Not only that!

A good number of people are still not worried about crowding or shaking of hands.

There are even some extreme cases where bar owners are providing sanctuary to imbibers to crowd behind locked doors. 

To them, their money, and not their lives, is more important.

The situation at Mbare Musika offers a sad scenario in a country with apparent nightmarish fear of this killer virus spreading like a veld fire across the world.  

Although how COVID-19 is spread has been repeated umpteen times through various channels, a lot of people behave like the Bible’s doubting Thomas.

At least Thomas did not believe but remained alive.

COVID-19 is real and  kills painfully, for that matter.

And the unpleasant truth is that death is irreversible.

Perhaps the grim figures about the toll of this deadly virus so far might jolt some people out of their complacency. 

By the beginning of this week, the number of confirmed deaths across the globe lays bare some shuddering revelations.

The US which tops the list had almost 43 000, while Italy had over 24 000 and Spain had over 21 000.

And  Britain, our former coloniser which is hosting a number of economic refugees from our country, had almost 17 000.

Apparently a good number of Zimbabweans in the UK have joined the health services. Unfortunately, as frontrunners  in attending to the victims of COVID-19, a number of them have inevitably fallen victim to the virus and some have even died.

Thomas Hobbes’ theory that man’s greatest fear is death might perhaps come to the rescue for some after taking a close look at these numbing figures.

We have already had four deaths and if we follow the world trend, there is nothing that can stop us from getting into  the thousands — that is, if we remain careless.

We don’ know when this COVID-19 menace is going to end.

Suffice to know that there have been cyclic outbreaks of such pandemics throughout  history.

We have had some which have been more devastating than the current one.

The Spanish Flu of 1918, which killed  40 to 50 million people, is considered the deadliest. The Hong Kong Flu of 1968 which killer over a million people is also among some of the deadliest pandemics.

What is common among all these influenzas and plagues, like our present COVID-19, is that so many people lose their lives.

But it is also worth noting that these pandemics don’t have a fixed location as their springboard.

It could be Spain, the Congo, China or even the US. 

What is, however, important to note is that these cyclic pandemics are not predictable nor do they recognise any borders.

No wonder former US President Barrack Obama, as recently as 2014, warned Americans about the possible outbreak of a global pandemic.

If the Republicans had listened to him, the Americans might not have been caught with their pants down by COVID-19. 

Instead of seeking political capital out of this tragedy, big powers should be joining hands in trying to find ways of saving lives.

On our part, we believe the thinking by our Government that ‘businesses can be resuscitated while lost lives cannot be retrieved’ is the appropriate policy to confront the COVID-19 menace.

The lockdown has to be maintained if this means lives will be saved.

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