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COVID-19 virus no match for global political thuggery

03 May 2020 at 08:56hrs | Views
Clearly, the world has been turned upside-down, inside out.

The new coronavirus - Covid-19 - has made possible what we previously thought unimaginable.

It has weaned sports junkies from that which they thought they could not live without.

It has reunited couples who were literally strange bedfellows in unavoidable unions of convenience.

It has also humbled and brought the mighty and proud to their knees, while most, if not all, the world's mega metropolises have been emptied and muted.

And it has also united the world in grief.

But sadly, once again, as has often happened throughout the ages, even crises of monumental proportions have not, cannot and will never melt away man's hardened hearts.

Greed, envy, cruelty and enmity will always remain with us long after the world's greatest wars, plagues and natural calamities.

That is the way it is.

Even Jesus Christ — the Son of God, who couldn't even hurt a fly and did not have an Okapi knife to his name — was horrifically executed like the vilest of criminals.

This is the nature of mankind: where we are shown love, we reply with hate; where we are shown compassion, we respond with indifference; and where we are shown mercy, we cannot resist to be cruel.

Acts 7:51-53 shows us how fickle we are.

"You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it."

Historians always tell us that the only lesson that we learn from history is that we in fact do not learn anything from it.

This is why even in the middle of this pandemic, global political thuggery still continues.

Make no mistake about it, the coronavirus is seriously upending the world as we know it, and post-pandemic the world order will be unrecognisably different, but the hate, envy, cruelty and enmity will continue to be nauseously pervasive.

No respite

At a time when those cash-flush countries who ought to have been better prepared are still reeling from Covid-19 one would have expected the world to cut some slake for besieged countries such as our own teapot-shaped republic.

Well, that can only be aspirational and wishful.

It will be as it was before — we will remain our own liberators.

We are simply the heroes we have been waiting for.

Of course, the President — ED — was mindful of this crucial fact and this is why he had to be nimble-footed in pre-empting the disease.

You might not be aware that exactly 50 days ago, on March 4, the President took the decision to restrict foreign travel outside Africa and went a step further to ban civil servants from travelling abroad.

By then, as with most of the continent, we didn't have a single confirmed case of the virus.

Thirteen days later, on March 17, Government declared a state of national disaster and cancelled all planned national festivities, not least the Independence Day celebrations and the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

It is also notable that by this time, the world had only 3 000 people that had succumbed to the disease worldwide.

However, three days later (March 20), the country recorded its first case in Victoria Falls involving a chap who had travelled to Manchester, UK, on March 7.

His visit came three days after the President has discouraged visits outside Africa.

Yes, Bishop Lazi knows that bookings for international travel are definitely made in advance, but, in any case, this was always going to be tricky and risky, especially at a time when Manchester was teeming with people expectantly waiting for the March 8 Manchester derby.

Well, the Bishop is aware of another chap who attended that match who later imported the virus into Zimbabwe.

Thankfully, when the Vic Falls resident returned eight days later, the correct health protocols were followed by the traveller, his medical practitioner and the reaction team.

He has since recovered.

But, tragically, three days after the first case was diagnosed, Zimbabwe recorded its first fatality — the young and talented Zororo Makamba.

Makamba had travelled to New York — America's ground zero for the coronavirus — on February 29.

He returned to Harare on March 19.

By that time, we are told New York only had one confirmed case of the virus.

Researchers, however, now say cases could have been more than 10 000.

Government rightfully doubled down its preventative and mitigation measures on the same grim day by banning gatherings at clubs, bars, beerhalls, movie houses, swimming pools, gymnasiums and sporting activities.

The country was closed for non-essential inbound and outbound travel, among a laundry list of other far-reaching measures.

ED, however, didn't relent.

Four days later, he announced the 21-day lockdown when the country had only five confirmed cases.

It was further extended by a further 14 days, which expire today.

Opening Up

Many have been asking the Bishop about when the lockdown will end.

It is only that we now have a generation that has a low attention span the size of a gnat or mosquito. The President answered this question on April 19.

"From the very beginning, we have always known that a national lockdown cannot be the cure, the solution. Rather, it merely buys time for us to slow down transmissions, while we take other measures and prepare on many fronts to cope and deal with the pandemic. Equally, we have always been conscious of the huge costs which come with the total lockdown: to the economy, to livelihoods, to families, to individuals . . ."

The idea has always been to steal a march on the disease so that it "levels off at . . . low manageable numbers".

It is all about getting ahead of the curve so that we are able to trace new infections and isolate and manage the infected.

Of late, this has been Government's preoccupation, which is a prerequisite for reopening our economy once again.

And it is squarely up to Zimbabweans to restart their economy; they won't be any saviour from either the IMF or World Bank.

You might have noticed over the past two weeks preparations for the winter wheat production have been ratcheted up.

Notwithstanding the distracting potential of the current pandemic, officials have been hard at work on the ground to ensure that agriculture — the heartbeat of our economy — doesn't fail.

New producer prices have been announced to provide succour for farmers, while the targeted hectarage for wheat (80 000ha) has been set.

Tobacco marketing is also ongoing.

Our mines are cautiously and slowly coming to life.

These would naturally be the building blocks of our post-pandemic recovery.

It would also temper the expected job losses — hopefully minimal — in other economic sectors, particularly tourism.

What is encouraging is that only four provinces — Harare, Bulawayo, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West —currently have cases of the virus, which provides scope for a coordinated and programmatic reopening in other remaining six unaffected areas.

But it is still early days yet; we are in it for the long haul.

The most immediate exigency is to be ahead of the curve by conscripting an army of dedicated health personnel that is capable to robustly trace infections and isolate those that would have been infected.

So it is not likely to work out for those who hope that the coronavirus could be a convenient "God-sent" biological weapon that would asphyxiate the local economy, and with it, the Government — their sworn enemy. The world rarely works that way.

Although one would not expect such hate, enmity and ill-will in an unprecedented health crisis of our time, it sadly still exists.

Quite clearly, we have to pull ourselves by our own bootstraps.

Bishop out!

Source - sundaymail
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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