Ruth Butaumocho African Agenda
A few weeks ago, a local doctor wrote an article in one of the daily newspapers on the possibility of people spending Christmas indoors owing to a spike in new Covid-19 cases.
Going through the article and assessing the points the learned doctor was putting across, the possibility of spending the festive season under lock, sounded surreal and almost absurd.
Just looking at the milestone achievements most countries had made in flattening the Covid-19 graph, the advice from the doctor to remain vigilant and continue “masking up” sounded hollow and somewhat alarmist.
However, as days went by, the Covid-19 narrative began to emerge, what with global media houses reviving the Covid-19 story, which most people never imagined would resurface in their lifetime.
Sadly, the possibility of another wave of new Covid-19 infection is now happening sooner than what the globe had hoped for.
Early this week in China’s capital Beijing, Covid-19 cases hit a record high, resulting in the immediate shutdown of social amenities such as parks and museums, in a bid to contain the situation.
According to online media reports, China reported 28 127 new local cases nationally for Monday, nearing its daily infection peak in April, with cases in the southern city of Guangzhou and the south-western municipality of Chongqing accounting for about a half of the total.
In the capital Beijing, cases hit a fresh record high, prompting calls for more residents to stay put.
Two new deaths attributed to Covid-19 were also reported on the same day, to three over the weekend, which were China’s first since May.
Since then, hardly a day passes without the media reporting on new cases being recorded across the globe.
The surge in new Covid-19 cases in China is a cause for concern, which calls for nations to be high on alert to avert a catastrophic situation, similar to the one experienced in 2020 and 2021 where millions succumbed to the pandemic.
Although the cases are not anywhere near the initial numbers recorded in 2020 when Covid-19 hit the shores, the latest development should not be taken lightly, but needs to be curtailed before the situation goes out of control.
It is heartening to note that the Zimbabwe’s situation on Covid-19 remains under control, a situation that calls on everyone to be vigilant and continue maintaining the World Health Organisation mandatory safety requirements.
As part of a litany of measures to maintain the situation, the Cabinet announced this week that all Ministers will lead teams to all provinces across the country to ramp up vaccination uptake, with special focus on Harare where the vaccination levels remain low.
The teams will also focus on Midlands and Mashonaland West, where the second dose vaccination are still low.
With Zimbabwe’s active figures currently at 516, the situation is still manageable and can be contained once every citizen plays their part in the fight against Covid-19.
The Government’s alertness in keeping Covid-19 under wraps is commendable and calls for everyone’s support to keep the figures down.
That level of commitment by the Government, discipline from citizens and regional cooperation from neighbouring countries are critical factors, which will sustain our situation, and avert a peak in new infections and even double digits deaths owing to the pandemic.
While many may still want to be complacent dismissing the recorded figures in China, basing it on geographical proximity, Africa could soon find itself under siege if necessary precautions are not taken, amid revelations that new infections are now peaking in some other African countries.
Early this week, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC called on African nations to increase surveillance and mitigation against Covid-19, saying new cases were on the rise in a number of countries across the globe.
The Pan American Health Organisation, (PAHO) also made the same appeal to its region to implement the tools proven to keep communities safe, including vaccines, surveillance, mask wearing and social distancing, particularly in the run-up to the festive period.
“The rise of a single respiratory infection is a cause for concern. When two or three start impacting a population concurrently, this should put us all on alert,” said a PAHO spokesperson.
The organisation has since recorded a 17 percent increase in new infections and deaths, as a result of Covid.
It is sad and very unfortunate that the globe is being confronted with a possibility of a full blown Covid-19 pandemic, which could grow to unimaginable proportions once nations fail to take the necessary measures to contain the spread and a possible vicious outbreak, likely to contain a new and resistant strain.
That situation can be averted by implementing necessary measures to keep the virus off the bay.
Some of the measures include vaccination, observing social distance, minimising contact, masking up and sanitising.
Human behaviour is a critical force in the fight against Covid-19.
Without the change in attitudes, how communities socialise, what they are willing to discard such as huge funeral gatherings, clandestine church meetings and gatherings, the world is likely to witness the reincarnation of the 2020 era, where millions succumbed to Covid-19.
At the rate at which Covid-19 ravages and decimates societies once it spirals out of control, history has shown that no nation in the world will be able to control Covid-19 by mere increasing hospital beds, equipping such with state of the art ventilators and pouring millions of building more health facilities to absorb the numbers.
Such measures are temporary and might not be the solution that the world will need once Covid-19 spreads across the globe.
History has taught us that if indeed well-equipped hospitals were a panacea and an answer in curbing the virulent various strains of Covid-19, confronting the world today, millions from developed countries would not have succumbed to the consequences of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
Such stark reality, calls for personal decisions by each one of us to stop the further spread of Covid-19 through adhering to World Health Organisations regulations, if we are to save this generation from catastrophic consequences.
Masking up, sanitising, avoiding gathering and isolating when sick or having tested positive for Covid-19 are some of the regulations, which might appear very simplistic, but are indeed very crucial.
We cannot rule out a possible global catastrophe, a situation that our minds should prepare for. However, how we will come out of this pandemic, and the speed of our collective recovery, will largely depend on our shared values, change of behaviour and collective global responsibility, to join hands to mobilize scientific and financial resources.
All this should be backed by strong individual commitment to save themselves and the next person.
Even in the face of hope, the fight against Covid-19 should not be the responsibility of Governments alone but the responsibility of everyone through drawing from shared values as people and actively participate in the fight against the pandemic.
The fight against Covid-19, can surely be won. The victory will emanate from change in human behaviour and a commitment to save this generation from further harm and suffering.