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Cut out travel this festive season

EDITORIAL COMMENT

Zimbabweans should not tire of reminding each other what to do and what not to do during this festive season especially with regards the generous rains being received round the country and the Covid-19 pandemic whose second wave has descended on the country with wrath.

The country is receiving reasonably good rains; but these always come with certain dangers such as flash flooding, which may cause landslides. Lightning is also common and claims hundreds of lives each year during this season. Flooded rivers are common and become a great danger especially as people seek to travel to be with their loved ones around the country.

The temptation to cross such flooded rivers can be irresistible but the simple message to bear in mind is: DON’T DO IT!.

But our greatest danger this festive season is the novel coronavirus. It had become an urban legend that Zimbabwe had been spared the worst of the pandemic. Deaths had been said to be low and the recovery rate high. But it’s emerging the official figures cannot be trusted mainly because testing has not been widespread.

Up to date only a miniscule percentage of the population has been tested; it just may be that many more people have contracted the virus and many more have died due to it without making it onto the list of official statistics.

It would be superstitious of us to believe that this virus, which is airborne, can affect Zimbabwe differently from how it has affected the rest of the world.

Now, its resurgence, after a bit of a lull in the summer, has come with a vengeance. Or, as is most likely, the testing has improved and has become more widespread meaning we are getting more and more positive cases every day.

And the weather conditions are ideal for the spread of the virus. The good rains are a double-edged sword; the virus thrives well in wet humid conditions and as it rains people are mostly indoors, meaning social distancing often becomes impossible.

The greatest challenge as far as the spread of Covid-19 is concerned will be to change the common people’s mindset. Used to thinking that the disease is rare, if it exists at all, it will well nigh be impossible to jog the people’s minds into the reality of the deadly existence of the disease.

This calls on all Zimbabweans in the know to up their vigilance and to spread the word. The most important thing NOT to do is TRAVEL. Tradition demands people travel during the festive season to be with loved ones, so travel is one of the hallmarks of Christmas fever. But people have to think twice before doing it this season.

It is unlikely that in crowded buses and pirate taxis people will observe the minimum requirements of stemming the spread. These are the wearing of masks and the regular washing and sanitisation of hands and surfaces. Therefore travellers are in the grave danger of contracting and spreading Covid-19. It’s best therefore not to travel at all.

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