Code — named 'Covid-19,' the new coronavirus pandemic is still ravaging the world three months after it surfaced in Wuhan City, China. There had already been a total of 472,529 Covid-19 cases worldwide by early morning yesterday, resulting in 21,304 deaths. However, a goodly 114,740 victims had fully recovered from the malady.
Remarkably, the government and other institutions - including development partners and philanthropists - have been making bona fide efforts to counsel and otherwise aid people on how to avoid infection. Generally, the measures involve hygienic practices that include - but aren't limited to - routinely disinfecting premises, habitats and other facilities; washing/sanitizing hands, surfaces and commonly-used appliances; wearing facemasks and gloves; avoiding crowds, shaking hands, smooching, etc...
These measures have been working wonders under the prevailing circumstances. Perhaps that's why and how Tanzania's Covid-19 infection pace crawled from one confirmed case on March 16 to 12 cases by March 22, holding steady to-date, and no deaths - touch wood!
This is basically the result of the noble efforts of the government, the Health ministry and other healthcare practitioners.
However, there's the proverbial fly in the ointment that's spoiling the success of the fight against the pandemic.
Unscrupulous manufacturers and distributors/traders have been constricting/restricting ready-availability and affordability of protective gear, sanitizers and disinfectants against Covid-19.
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They have created artificial shortages of the materials - and inordinately hike prices of the few that manufacturers and/or distributors allow to slip into the market. This is no doubt in efforts to make mega-profits on the back of the pandemic.
As we reported in these pages yesterday, the Fair Competition Commission (FCC) has warned against such unfair trade practices.
But, because the Covid-19 menace is a matter of life and death for millions, more than mere warning is needed and justified here - including penalising offenders as an effective deterrent.
This is the way to go - and we should get it done pronto!