CHIEF Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya says Coronavirus will eventually go away but the economic malaise which it has caused will continue for some years.

And Siliya says all 16 Coronavirus patients recorded as at Thursday were responding well to treatment.

Meanwhile, Siliya has implored all Zambians to stay at home, saying that is the best solution to avoid contracting the deadly Coronavirus.

Speaking when she featured on Radio Phoenix’s Let The People Talk programme, Friday, Siliya said the Coronavirus was a ravaging disease in terms of health, social systems and the economy.

“Coronavirus is real! The COVID-19 can kill people, but others can survive. At the same time, it’s such an inconvenience; it’s such a ravaging disease in terms of health, social systems and most of all, in terms of the economy. The disease will go away, but I think that the economic malaise will continue for two, three, four, five years. And people will feel it at pocket-level because right now, business has dropped tremendously in tourism, trade and in entertainment industry,” Siliya lamented.

She urged Zambians to do all they could to prevent prolonging the virus in the country.

“So we should be thinking that we do all we can now, so that we do not prolong this disease, so we can have something to salvage at the end of it. If we don’t, there will be no business that will not be affected, including media houses that are usually supported by adverts. We are all in this together. This is not time to point fingers and say, ‘if government can do this, or if the President can do this.’ This is the time to say, ‘what am I doing for me and my family today to make sure Zambia does well as far as the Coronavirus is concerned?’ Because if we are going to say, ‘it’s up to the government, what can I do about Corona?’ And we are going on without behavioural change, we are really going to be in trouble,” Siliya cautioned.

“This is the time for all of us to avoid touching money. If you do, please sanitize your hands immediately! Try and wash your hands as much as possible. Your mobile phones have to be deliberately cleaned three, four times a day. We need to spread this word that masks and gloves can be quite a source of contamination. Because if we just throw them in the bin, children or other people will pick them and they will just carry on spreading the disease from one person to another.”

And Siliya said all 16 Coronavirus patients recorded as at Thursday were responding well to treatment and that no one was on a ventilator.

“All of them did not get such a violent attack, for lack of a better term. We have been lucky so far that these 16 cases have responded; none is on a ventilator so they are breathing on their own. They have been in isolation. There is no vaccine (for COVID-19), at the end of the day, it’s between you and God that your body can fight this disease!” she said.

On claims that there were more Coronavirus cases in the country than what was being announced, Siliya wondered why government would lie to its people, adding that if it wanted to do so, it would have announced that there were no cases in Zambia.

“What is the motivation for a government to lie to its people? If government wanted to lie, we would say, ‘there is no Corona [case], we are all safe.’ This is a disease that is affecting big countries and small countries, as well as, every race. Government is a serious institution; it’s an institution for the people. Who would benefit from this country being ravaged by Corona? Like in Italy, if it happened here, I don’t even know if there will be anything to salvage because other countries’ economies are even, maybe, a bit more resilient and bigger, but people die. So, in Zambia, we have to stop denigrating institutions of governance,” she said.

Meanwhile, Siliya, who is also Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, insisted that staying home was the best way to avoid the Coronavirus and further urged people to avoid touching money.

“If we can avoid the spread, people’s lives will continue. People stop travelling! If you know somebody, who is buying a ticket and saying, ‘I am going out of Zambia’ ask them, ‘truly, do you care about this country?’ If we can avoid those habits, no more going to watch games, don’t go to your neighbours’ house… If you can spend as much time in your own home, then you have a chance of saving your family. Let us limit movements and we should avoid gatherings,” urged Siliya, who also urged Zambians to cancel weddings until the nation got through the horrendous pandemic.