Craving for Covid-19 baffling

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Harare(New Ziana) – The world is currently battling the COVID-19 pandemic, which first broke out in China last year, and has rapidly spread to other parts of the world, with Europe now the epicentre.

To date, according to the World Health Organisation, over 7 000 people globally have died from COVID-19, and 180 000 others infected in 140 countries.

The virus easily spreads from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Due to the rapid spread of the disease, some countries have imposed strict curfews, while in severely affected nations like Italy – where over 35 000 people have been infected and over 2 500 have died – entire provinces have been placed in lockdown.

Having seemingly “avoided” Africa, the virus has now found its way to the continent, with Egypt, Tunisia, Togo, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa reporting cases.

But Zimbabwe is still among the lucky few with no case, although the threat is now closer home after neighbouring South Africa fell victim two weeks ago.

South Africa is home to millions of Zimbabweans who have migrated in search of job opportunities, while thousands others engage in cross border trade daily.

South Africa now has recorded 116 confirmed COVID-19 infections.

To prepare for an outbreak in Zimbabwe, the government has declared the pandemic a national disaster to allow it to mobilise resources and take necessary measures in dealing with the pandemic.

It also banned all public events and gatherings, including next month’s independence celebrations and shut down all of the country’s small border entry points.

Other measures put in place include setting up COVID-19 rapid response teams and state of the art testing and quarantine facilities.

So far, the measures put in place by government, including mandatory screening for all visitors at ports of entry, have kept Zimbabwe Covid-19 free.

This, ordinarily, should be enough reason for Zimbabweans to celebrate and thank God for, but alas, is instead a source of disappointment, if not outright grief, for some in the country.

Judging by conversations on various social media platforms, the disappointment by some people over the absence of Covid-19 in the country so far, is undisguisedly clear.

Most of these are opposition activists looking for fresh ammunition to attack government with, after all thrown at it so far have proven blunt.

Some have even gone to the extent of accusing government of falsifying information and hiding “confirmed” COVID-19 cases.

Yet government has been very transparent about Covid-19 from the onset, providing daily updates on suspected cases through the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

So far over 10 suspected cases, including foreign nationals, have been tested for COVID-19 and their results came back negative.

But for the opposition activists, this simply cannot be true.

“According to this ENCA (South African broadcaster) report someone in Zimbabwe has tested positive for #Covid-19 and is in quarantine here. We hope ministry of health and information will comment on this as soon as possible so that the public is in the know,” opposition activist Fadzai Mahere wrote on her twitter account.

Mahere, like many other opposition activists, are well known for clutching at anything that would “expose” the government’s “waywardness.”

Yet at times it is important for Zimbabweans to rise above party politics especially in the face of such a serious threat as Covid-19 which does not discriminate politically or socially.

“Sometimes we wish ourselves ill so much that the negative vibe we generate for ourselves gets international buy in,” Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary, Nick Mangwana said in response to Mahere.

Another twitter user known as Mmatigari was similarly not amused by Mahere’s rant.

“Mahere is so desperate for Zimbabwe to have a coronavirus infection. She is itching for the outbreak here to the point of surfing foreign media for cases. Maybe she should go out there and get the infection herself. The behaviour is shocking, it is too much.”

Alois Bunjira, a retired footballer, weighed in on his facebook page, querying why Zimbabweans were desperately wishing for bad things to happen to the country.

“Why does it sound like some Zimbabweans are so eager to hear that Corona Virus has settled in Zimbabwe? Why do they sound disappointed that there is no news about the virus in Zimbabwe? Why are some Zimbabweans desperate to hear the virus is now here? Some are excitedly spreading fake news about it. To what end?” he asked.

While for most Zimbabweans there are no answers to Bunjira’s questions, to opposition activists the prayers for Covid-19 to cross over into the country makes perfect political and financial sense.

It would be a new powerful tool to grandstand around about government ‘failings’ in a sensitive sector still recovering from opposition-orchestrated upheavals it experienced from end of last year to beginning of this year.

And don’t forget donor sponsorship money to be had for shouting the loudest about the government ‘failings’ exposed by the arrival of Covid-19.

But disappointingly, the Gods are so far spoiling the intended ‘party’ by keeping the disease away from the shores of Zimbabwe.
New Ziana

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