THE wise saying that “to be forewarned is to be forearmed” should serve as a guiding star for Zimbabweans and other human beings elsewhere on a journey through a world darkened by the shadow of Covid-19 and therefore fraught with danger; otherwise the saying “had I known does not proceed” will save no one for any bungling that occurs.
In Europe and elsewhere overseas, schools and some economic activities that reopened when authorities misread a breather in the coronavirus pandemic siege have had to be shut again with the World Health Organisation warning all countries across the globe to not be misled by temporary breaks in the pandemic into believing the crisis is over.
A WHO representative in Zimbabwe has repeated the warning by his organisation that as long as coronavirus cases continue to be recorded, as what is happening on a daily basis in our country, the crisis is still far from over and so people should not throw their face masks to the winds or engage in ecstatic embraces and kissing, thereby violating social distancing as a preventive measure against the spread of the deadly virus.
In particular, the pending opening of more border entry points allowing well documented Zimbabweans returning from other countries, particularly South Africa, a country most affected by the coronavirus in Africa, should be accompanied with tighter checks to prevent our country from being inundated by thousands of people carrying the virus.
Zimbabweans hounded out of their country by illegal Western sanctions that destroyed jobs here at home, are known to have left the country to seek greener pastures in both neighbouring states as well as in countries overseas.
With the festive season around the corner, when many countries experience industrial breaks, the Zimbabweans abroad will no doubt come back home to flaunt their fortunes with relatives at Christmas.
A Zimbabwean who has lived and worked in South Africa for many years said in Bulawayo this week that apart from the official Beitbridge entry points between South Africa and our country, a fence along the border between the two countries had been cut in many areas through which Zimbabweans and other people, among them traders illegally cross into this country and back, bribing officials on guard duty on both sides of the border to let them through.
The man who preferred anonymity said that he feared many Zimbabweans from various Sadc countries, and without travel documents, will cross through the illegal entry points, especially now before the rain season when the Limpopo is dry and infect relatives in their villages as well as in urban areas for those with no rural homes.
In addition, he said that companies resuming business each time the lockdown is relaxed, give preference to the employment of South Africans and this meant that more Zimbabweans, some of them carrying the deadly virus, will join the beeline back home.
Right now health authorities report cases of local and foreign transmissions of the coronavirus daily with more cases in the latter category coming from South Africa.
A picture that looms large from the above discourse is that if Zimbabwean returnees and foreigners entering the country are not screened at quarantine centres, a siege by the coronavirus might destroy more lives along with an economy already rendered dangerously fragile. An upsurge in Covid-19 cases might result in company closures rendering many jobless thereby increasing poverty in many homes and might also force schools to close again.
The above no doubt suggests a need for strict adherence to regulations introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic so that false restarts in economic and social activities will not send the country back to square one with more catastrophic consequences for both the economy and human lives.