The sudden flare up of Covid-19 cases at a school in Matabeleland North should jolt all Zimbabweans out of the false belief that the novel coronavirus has “by the grace of God” spared our country.
Candid Comment:Nevanji Madanhire
In the past few months the majority of Zimbabweans had begun to disregard basic World Health Organisation guidelines on how to prevent infection.
But almost out of the blue 100 pupils and an undisclosed number of teachers contracted the virus at John Tallack Secondary School in Ntabazinduna. The number of cases may rise as more tests are being conducted.
Fortunately, there have not been any fatalities at the institution yet.
In its press briefing this week, Cabinet said it is concerned with the increase of Covid-19 positive cases in the past two weeks.
But why had Zimbabweans become so complacent even amid repeated warnings there would be a second wave which could be even more deadly than the first?
One might surmise that compared to countries in the global North, sub-Saharan Africa had not been hit desperately hard, making people believe, falsely of course, that the region’s hot and humid climate had to do with it.
All this disregarded the fact that the regional response had been decent enough to curtail the mass infection originally anticipated.
Now that Zimbabwe has been hit in the face with the largest incidence in a single location immediate action has to be taken in order to change attitudes. In such a situation frontliners should preach one important message: let’s go back to basics.
What are the basics?
Covid-19 is spread from an infected person to another through droplets of saliva or mucus that may be carried in the air when the infected person coughs or sneezes.
So it is important that people keep safe distances apart from each other — that’s what’s called social distances.
Contact with surfaces where droplets may have settled might make the droplets stick to hands hence it’s important to regularly wash hands with soap to remove the droplets so one does not infect himself or herself by touching the face, the eyes or the nose.
A sanitiser that has a huge percentage of alcohol in it has been seen to be effective in destroying the coronavirus on your hands.
Putting on a mask is the single most important thing that one can do to prevent infection as virus-carrying droplets cannot penetrate the material of the mask.
Many may hope that a vaccine will land on our shores anytime soon but that is unlikely as the logistics may be difficult: for example one possible vaccine should be stored in temperatures below -70°C. Our fridges go down only to 4°C.
Most importantly, believe in the science of it rather than the myths and the conspiracy theories.