HOUSING and Infrastructure Development Minister Vincent Mwale says those who have survived COVID-19 must become advocates of behavioural change.

And Mwale has condemned the flouting of health regulations by PF cadres at the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court.

Mwale was speaking during a News Diggers/Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) sponsored programme on Chipata’s Breeze FM, Sunday.

Responding to a caller who expressed concern over Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo’s remarks that he would not stop mobilizing the party on the Copperbelt amidst the pandemic, Mwale said those who have survived the virus must become advocates of change.

“As I am talking here, Honourable Bowman Lusambo admitted on his own that he has COVID-19. He is in hospital but he is not in danger. He is okay after receiving care from the hospital. I am very sure that if he really said those words, after being affected, he is not the same person. Definitely, he will now become an agent of change. I have committed myself to come and talk about what I went through because I know that it will benefit my people. I believe even Honourable Bowman Lusambo will go back to Copperbelt and tell the people that ‘my thoughts about this were different but now I have different views’, after the experience, he has passed through. I appeal to all of you to use the influence you have to educate others and make sure that we are all safe, we protect our children,” Mwale said.

And Mwale condemned the behaviour of some PF supporters at the Magistrates’ Court when they went to give solidarity to Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya.

“That was bad. It’s true we all saw that the party officials went to court and there was no social distancing. That was lawlessness. No one can even praise that. Even the police were told not to allow that to happen again. The government is concerned. It is also true that some of us ministers were holding gatherings and that wasn’t good as well. But now, seeing what is happening, how people are dying, we need to desist from such bad conduct. What I am telling you now is in the best interest of the country. If leaders made a mistake, let us not incite everyone to do the same. Let us all mask up, wash hands and adhere all health regulations even in markets because once the virus hits us, we will not die alone but we will infect even young children who are just seated home,” he said.

Mwale, who is also Chipangali PF member of parliament, appealed to his people to follow the provided health regulations in order to prevent the spread.

“I want to say that it is very possible, we have seen what is happening in Lusaka that people are dying in numbers, we have seen that the cases on a daily basis are more than 150 and it is possible that it can happen to us in Eastern province. But it is also possible that we can stop it. It all depends on us. Let us wear masks, let us practice social distancing, let us change our behaviour and make sure that we do what Minister of Health has told us to do. Let us not imitate bad examples but let us be good examples. I had COVID-19 myself and I am very lucky that God protected me but not everyone will get the same experience. Let us all play our parts,” Mwale advised.

“I think we have broken the law for a long time. People thought that Zambia was an exception from Coronavirus. They thought what we used to see on CNN or BBC about people dying in Brazil, America, China, Spain, Italy and so on, but now it has come to us because people have not been following the health regulations from start. This is the time for us to reflect and assess if this is the time to continue with breaking the regulations or not. If people are allowed to trade in markets, we need to make sure that they practice social distancing, they wear masks and follow all the regulations. You heard the Minister of Health said no wedding or funeral gatherings. If one dies of Coronavirus, the government will bury the body.”

He implored Zambians to prevent infection, warning that some people would not be as lucky as he was in fighting it.

“Look at me, I stayed with the virus for seven (07) days. On the 8th day when the test results were released, the virus had already gone and I am very fit now. But there are others who will not be healed the same way. We have just buried one MP because of COVID-19. All of us were in Parliament and the virus has hit us in Parliament. You have heard about MPs and Ministers who have gotten infected. But the virus has hit us in different ways, others are in oxygen. As we speak now, there are others who are in oxygen in hospitals. But for me, I didn’t get to the hospital and I was healed. So, God created us differently,” said Mwale.

“But simply because I am fit, I should not put the next person in a compromised situation, I should not put the next person in danger or at risk because the virus didn’t affect me badly. Let us be careful and make sure that we protect ourselves. We have been told that from August to October, the whole Zambia will be badly hit by the pandemic and that about 1,000 people will die every day. But even with this 1,000 plus number of confirmed cases that we have recorded so far, we may not reach 5,000 if we all take part in preventing the spread.”

And Mwale advised those who may have contracted the virus to take care of themselves and avoid infecting the next person.