LUSAKA Apex Medical University chief executive officer Professor Peter Mwaba says people need to stop conducting body viewing and holding funerals to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

And Prof Mwaba says hospitals must be treated as dangerous places to visit amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Speaking when he featured on a live COVID-19 interactive programme hosted by Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Dora Siliay on ZNBC, Tuesday, Prof Mwaba cautioned that the country would continue recording an increase in the number of positive cases if drastic measures were not put in place.

He said body viewing and the holding of funerals by relatives should be stopped to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“For the funerals, it’s even worse because what I have observed from outside there is that people are still taking dead bodies from Lusaka, transporting them to outside Lusaka to go and bury in the village. So, you are literally exporting the COVID to outside Lusaka. We can do what we have done when there is cholera where health workers supervise the funeral, no movements of bodies, no body viewing and everything else. But we are doing the opposite. And I am sure you have seen that on that account, we will continue recording an increase in the number of cases if we don’t put in drastic measures,” Prof Mwaba said.

Prof Mwaba, who is also a former Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, urged people to stop travelling to various locations for funerals to curb spreading the disease.

“And I would not recommend somebody travelling from one town to another just to go and attend a funeral because even if you travel, are you going to resurrect a person who has died? So, the low areas where we have recorded these cases must be protected so that we don’t export this virus to other areas. There is a lot of external transmission within our country from one place to another for various reasons,” he said.

And Prof Mwaba said hospitals must be treated as dangerous places to visit amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“People must know that hospitals are dangerous places. They are not places where you just visit and go there anyhow. Even pre-COVID, there are other pathogens that abide in the hospitals. So, the hospital is not a place where you go in large numbers the way we have been doing before COVID. But now that there is COVID, it’s even worse,” Prof Mwaba cautioned.

He stressed that there was need to break the transmission chain by self-isolation.

“If you look at the long-term effects of wearing these masks, basically you are recycling your own air because when you are wearing your mask, you are breathing out carbon dioxide and part of it again you are inhaling. So, even the masks themselves are not the safest gadgets to have. The most important thing is that we should break the transmission chain so that we go back to normal,” said Prof Mwaba.