OPERATION 100 Covid-19 Taskforce chairperson Inambao Sitwala says despite the COVID-19 pandemic being widely talked about, especially in the media, people are now fatigued with it.

In an interview, Sitwala said people were now getting tired of the pandemic and had dropped their guard despite the virus still being in their midst.

“We realise that one of the key things that people have a challenge in is basically not having sufficient data and sufficient information on how the disease has been a challenge. And despite the disease being talked about so much in the media and the other platforms, people still have grown this fatigue within themselves. The Covid fatigue [as] we call it, which has also made people now instead of getting serious they are just getting tired of it. They have ended up becoming complacent with the method of how they can avoid this disease, prevention techniques and also certain things that they should avoid doing in public or when they are in private,” Sitwala said.

“People have taken more like a laissez faire approach to combating this disease. But the truth of the matter is that the disease is still in our midst. Yes, we understand that of late the numbers have gone down, the infection rate has gone down, the seriousness of the disease in many people has gone down and we highly attribute that to the weather. The weather has actually been fluctuating of late, we had minor flu here and there. But now we are getting into the cold season and the minor flu that are being experienced by some people could actually be a leeway into one having to be exposed to this COVID-19.”

He predicted a surge in COVID-19 cases as the country enters into the cold season due to the complacency that people had developed towards the disease.

“The fatigue that has been evidenced by most citizens over the disease is worrying and we might have a surge in the COVID-19 cases, the fact that now we are going into the cold season. The disease needs to be demystified so that people can have the true picture of what this is all about. People have developed some kind of complacency. So it is because of this same complacency that will lead to us having COVID-19 surges, or increases [in cases]. People have become truly relaxed and the only thing we have right now that is remaining is continuous information about COVID,” Sitwala said.

“We as a task force should not get tired, we should just continue to do our best. Which we have continued to do on different platforms. We have even gone into local languages now explaining this disease in detail using various expertise in our midst, trying to emphasise on the importance of keeping safe.”

He challenged the Ministry of Health to partner with private stakeholders to enhance awareness regarding the pandemic.

“The Ministry of Health needs to up their game in the vaccination as well as in the dissemination of information as the custodian of health matters in the country. And they need also to actually co-opt groups like private stakeholders such as the Operation Covid-19 Task Force. This group is going to help the Ministry of Health, the fact that it is coming from a labour movement. The labour movement commands a very big chunk of the citizenry. As you may wish to know that the labour movement alone in the public sector controls about 230,000 civil servants. Each civil servant has behind them about 10 dependents, so you can multiply that 230,000 x10,” said Sitwala.

“So the same civil servants that we are in control of as labour movement, we can be used labour movements to disseminate information in liaison or together with the Ministry of Health to make sure that people are sensitised. One, on vaccination, two on how their body should be immunised.”