Home OpinionEditorial Comment When Europe coughs, Africa catches the cold

When Europe coughs, Africa catches the cold

by commuadmin

Since December 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic has gripped the world by the throat and has had unimaginable negative impact on socio-economic processes.

While opportunists take it as a natural opportunity which gave the world a gap to take a break and start restructuring the way it operates, African countries have had a different experience.

Recently, pushed by the spike in Covid-19 positive cases, the Zimbabwean cabinet resolved that current lockdown restrictions must be tightened while localized lockdowns will be introduced in hotspot areas and further opening of the environment will be halted.

The President, Emmerson Mnangagwa said he had relaxed the measures when the machinery to capacitate systems against Covid-19 began to operationalise.

“Initially I declared a national lockdown because we were on a very weak platform to fight the pandemic. When the machinery to capacitate our systems began to work, I relaxed the systems as recommended by World Health Organisation. But now with the surge, I am likely to impose further restrictions,” President Mnangagwa said.

This gives an insight on the impression that The President had on the Covid-19 preparedness level of the country health system against the number of cases that were recorded before the local transmission surge.

However, on the ground there seems to be lockdown fatigue, which viewed from a social perspective, is pushed by the need for social welfare, food, bill payment capacity and the need to fend for families.

When, Covid-19 was at its peak in Europe, Asia and America, African countries which had lower cases by then were gripped by the fever and introduced replica lockdown measures which were really not informed by an impact based research on the livelihoods of local citizens.

In the case of Zimbabwe, three months later the cases are now spiking yet the tolerance for lockdown in the country is also demising largely due to socio-economic factors as highlighted.

For poorer countries, hunger and starvation is an equally rising threat which the government must consider before making any decisions on lockdown measures.

There is need to re- strategise, find local solutions and even restart the Covid-19 information campaign across the country. Without proper social relief, the measures may face resistance amongst the public who are turning a blind eye to the rising cases.

The one size fits all approach has and will prove to be catastrophic to the Zimbabwean citizens.

Further to that, Zimbabwe must first capacitate its health systems to handle the Covid-19 since the Presidents’ sentiments suggests that the system is not ready for such a surge and therefore a further lockdown is a necessity.

Neighboring South Africa, which is by all means economically better than Zimbabwe, has been buckling under pressure with its health system also failing to adequately accommodate rising cases.

It is high time that African governments also empower their own local experts to conduct social based research to solutions that are contextualised to help African people through this ongoing pandemic.

The globalisation process has always been driven by socio-economic actors and the Covid-19 pandemic is also a catalysing factor to the globalised approaches being taken by African governments, yet the world is not so universal.

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