Home Columns Let’s all work together to fight Covid-19

Let’s all work together to fight Covid-19

by Sunday Express
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GIVEN the emergence of new variants from time to time, it is safe to say that the Covid-19 pandemic is here to stay and it will be with us for the foreseeable future. Government, health practitioners and the public should not drop the ball. All stakeholders should remain vigilant and work together to fight the deadly pandemic.
By now most people would be aware of the dos and don’ts in the fight against the pandemic. We all know that we should frequently wash our hands with sanitisers, wear our face masks and maintain social distancing in public places. Those who are eligible should get vaccinated to prevent the chances of suffering severe illnesses and even death in the event of infections.
We are also aware of the need to undergo testing and to present valid Covid-19 certificates indicating that we are free of the virus whenever we have to travel. Not only does a negative status protect us, it also protects those we encounter on our travels.
The need for testing and presenting valid Covid-19 certificates at all ports of entry isn’t something we should even be discussing at this point in time. But we have been forced to revisit the issue due to the recklessness displayed by some of our countrymen and women during the just-ended festive season.
We bring the issue up after reports that hundreds of people forced their way through the Maputsoe border post without producing any valid Covid-19 certificates or having their passports examined as pre the requirements.
According to the reports, the mob burst through the border fence on Christmas Day after overpowering police officers who were manning the border.
Health Minister Semano Sekatle said hundreds of Lesotho nationals had illegally crossed into the country from South Africa during the ensuing chaos at the border.
“We cannot tolerate such lawlessness,” Mr Sekatle said of the mob’s behaviour.
“They have to report themselves to the police or their chief immediately. Those who don’t report to the police or are not caught will be caught when they cross back into South Africa.
We will catch them then. Their passports were not stamped so it will not be too hard to identify them,” the minister said.
The whole affair exposes an incompetent and ill-prepared police service which cannot even deal with unarmed hooligans. The episode also exposes the hopelessness of the government and the minister who appeals to the conscience of unruly elements, wishing they would be moved to surrender themselves to the police. But these are subjects for another time.
We are worried about the effects of such recklessness on our fight against the pandemic.
This is essentially a repeat of what we witnessed during the 2020 Christmas holidays when thousands of our people streamed into the country without being tested or presenting Valid Cocid-19 certificates indicating that they were free of the virus.
As we all know that the results of such recklessness and lawlessness were catastrophic. Infections surged exponentially in the country. The health system was stretched beyond its capacity as hospitals filled with patients. Many people died. The government was forced to introduce a hard lockdown wherein cross-border travel and inter-district travel were all banned.
Many industries were forced to shut down during the pandemic and the economy took a huge knock which it still hasn’t recovered from.
One would have thought that our people had learnt the lesson. But alas, as the Maputsoe episode shows, they have learnt nothing at all.
We couldn’t agree more with Mr Sekatle when he said that “such behaviour sabotages our efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic”.
“These actions will have dire consequences for us as a country. Those who illegally crossed the border are enemies of this country even if they are citizens.”
We can only pray and hope that in the coming weeks and months, we will not have to pay the ultimate price for the selfishness and recklessness of those who took it upon themselves to enter the country illegally without presenting valid Covid-19 certificates.
We also urge the rest of the population to continue abiding by the Covid-19 protocols. We also urge the unvaccinated to get their jabs. We need to work together to fight the pandemic. It is important for everyone to continue observing all protocols. We can’t afford any more restrictions which stifle economic activity. Lest we sink to depths from which we may never be able to recover.

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