T here is a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, something that has got almost every Malawian worried. Sadly, in the past week it claimed lives of two Cabinet ministers, prompting President Lazarus Chakwera to declare a State of national disaster. Reports that some Covid-19 isolation facilities are overwhelmed and filled, does paint a picture of how serious the situation is.
The festive season gone by was characterised by large crowds and gatherings that mostly disregarded Covid-19 preventive measures. People partied with no face masks or shields and without observing physical distance.
It was as if Covid-19 was no longer there. It is, therefore, not surprising that right now the numbers keep rising and the health system seems to be overwhelmed with the ‘second wave’ of the pandemic.
Apart from Malawians letting their guard down in the past months, the government has acted as though Covid-19 was wiped out of the face of Malawi. Government officials, who should have led by example, have been seen not following the preventive measures. Instead of intensifying messages on the need to observe preventive measures, this was replaced by the noise from officials defending trivial things.
The government had ample time to prepare and tighten loopholes observed from the first wave. The response then was bad and it continues to be worse and because of the laissez-faire approach, the ‘second wave’ has almost caught the government pants down. The government had enough time to build more isolation and quarantine facilities across the country. It is sad that the whole of Kamuzu Central Hospital has only 20 beds in the isolation centre.
During the months the numbers went down, that was the time government should have prepared for the worst scenario. It is not as if there were no warning of a possible ‘second wave’, it was there and, actually, some countries in Europe had already started experiencing the ‘second wave’. That should have jolted government into action.
While the government should take the lead, every single person is responsible for their own safety and that of others. It is sad to see people going about their business with no regard to observing Covid-19 preventive measures. As a citizen, you have the duty to ensure that your family is protected and others, too.
You do this by ensuring that going out should only be for a valid reason, not just for the sake of meeting and greeting. Stay home and only go out on essential runs only.
We are supposed to be minimising contact with others.
It is not the time to start pulling back any precautions that you have implemented to be safe while weathering this pandemic.