The Ministry of Health’s disclosure that the number of COVID cases in Zambia has increased by 55% is concerning, and citizens must take personal responsibility. Lackson Kasonka, the Permanent Secretary for Technical Services at the Ministry of Health, stated yesterday at a COVID-19 press conference that the country is on the verge of a 5th wave of the deadly virus. Zambia confirmed 732 fresh cases last week, up from 471 the previous week, a 55 percent increase in the number of cases, according to Professor Kasonka. Worse, three people died as a result of the pandemic last week, up from one the week before. Most people appear to have forgotten the anguish we felt after losing so many loved ones to the virus during the third wave last June, when Zambia had the highest mortality rate and number of Covid-19 cases.
To combat the spread of coronavirus in the country, people are now expected to walk around carelessly, without masking up or maintaining physical distances. Most businesses, with the exception of a few supermarkets such as Shoprite, no longer require customers to wear masks before entering. People who use public transportation, such as taxis and minibuses, face even greater difficulties. Drivers, p assengers, and their assistants fail to wear masks and, in just about all cases, overload their vehicles, putting their lives in danger. It’s difficult to imagine how people survive the virus in crowded places like Lusaka’s Soweto market and other parts of the country where people don’t bother masking up.
Face masks are worn around the chin, leaving the mouth and nose vulnerable to infection. Simply put, people have abandoned their anti-coronavirus defences entirely. After seeing the alarming hospitalisation and death statistics, most citizens recognise the significance of masking up and complying to other coronavirus precautionary action.
That’s what happened in June last year, when the coronavirus experienced its third wave, resulting in a significant increase in the number of new infections. However, after the 3rd wave, many people began to disregard the advised precautions and resumed their normal activities, as if COVID-19 had been totally eliminated. As a result, Zambia experienced a fourth wave, though it was not as deadly as the earlier one, which was the deadliest since the nation confirmed the virus’s first two cases in March 2020, when they were brought into the country from France.
The 5th wave of COVID-19 is highly likely, given the severity of the cold season and the recent increase in coronavirus cases. To avoid high death toll and large number of hospitalizations seen during the 3rd wave, each citizen must feel responsible and assist in limiting the pandemic’s spread.
This can be accomplished by following the 5 golden rules: masking in public, washing or sanitizing hands on a regular basis, maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowded places and seeking medical attention as soon as symptoms appear.