LUSAKA Province Minister Bowman Lusambo has warned Lusaka residents flouting COVID-19 guidelines to be ready to be “ badly inconvenienced” now that he is back in good health.

In an interview, Lusambo said that he had now become radical in the manner he would handle the COVID-19 fight because he wanted to ensure that cases in the capital dropped to zero.

“So, for us, as Lusaka Province, we need to change the approach, and we will begin to be radical. And being radical doesn’t mean that the people will be killed, we just want to make sure that people start doing the right thing. So, the motorists, if you are more than one person in a vehicle, make sure that you are putting on a face mask; the buses, people visiting the shopping malls; people visiting the shops, we just want to make sure that we just reduce this spread of COVID-19 in Lusaka. As we speak, it’s everywhere! We don’t even know the person to trust, no one; you can’t trust anyone with COVID. So, for me, we are going to double the efforts, if it means inconveniencing the Lusaka residents, we just want them to be ready that we are going to inconvenience them badly. Actually, this time around, it’s bad because the information has reached, sensitisation has been done and they’ve ignored all these things. And it’s time for us to inconvenience them and we are going to inconvenience them badly,” Lusambo cautioned.

“So, for me, yes, I am back and we’ll be more radical now because I have seen a lot of things. This period when I was at Levy (Mwanawasa Hospital), I have seen a lot of things, more than the things, which I saw in March. March, after seeing from other countries, we started with awareness, then we started with adherence because by then we had some cases, which was being treated and today it’s a different story altogether because I have gone through and I have seen people dying, with my naked eyes, I have seen people dying because of COVID. So, as we are coming now, we will be more radical, actually, we will be more radical than ever because I have seen how people are dying. People are struggling to survive because of COVID.”

He added that the provincial administration will double efforts as compliance levels had dropped down to zero despite raised awareness.

“So, for us, now, as Lusaka Province, this is not a time to go to sleep, this is not the time to let those detractors, those who talk to give them opportunity to talk, this is not the time. This is the time to make sure that we move in. If it means inconveniencing people, we are going to inconvenience them because we have seen the impact and we will inconvenience them so that we protect their lives. Our efforts now will double from the ones, which we saw us doing in March, April, now it will be doubled because we have seen the impact and some of us have gone through this disease. All those bars, which we are seeing, all those people we are seeing at night partying, all those places are just death traps. They are death traps I can assure you because COVID-19 is capable of wiping that night club, including the DJ, wiping them like so without anyone surviving, that is COVID for you. It’s not just a matter of, ‘no, tifuna kuyenda kuma bar (we want to go to the bar)’,” said Lusambo.

“This is not a time for those useless things, this is the time, actually, to understand why COVID at this time. This is the time to reflect because you can die at any time with COVID. With COVID, all of us are potential dead people! So, this is a time to reflect and put your life in order, this is not a time to start being excited, this is not a time for partying. This is time to reflect, know your life, are you going to be acceptable before Heaven. But definitely, we are in this world where people perceive things differently. So, for me, what I have seen, actually, the efforts, which we had put in March, April, May, it has gone to waste because the level of compliance now is almost zero. And this fight is not a government fight alone, this is a public fight so we need the people out there to act responsibly, it is not always that we have to police them, it’s time people start thinking on their own.”

On Monday scores of PF supporters defied, Covid-19 guidelines to witness President Edgar Lungu’s launch of the Makeni Overpass, and the Head of State thanked the supporters for gathering en masse for the event.