Touching elbows and feet has replaced traditional forms of courtesy in Zembe, a poor village in the interior of Manica, central Mozambique, which now draws on cholera prevention knowledge to prevent the new coronavirus.
"Sometimes we just say 'good morning', without shaking hands", because of the new coronavirus, Manuel Leta, leader of the village of Zembe, told Lusa, who is now trying to transmit the measures he hears on the radio, from house to house , since collective meetings were limited.
The new measures, including observing the distance recommended by health authorities around the world to prevent transmission of the new coronavirus, continue to be challenged by the social conditions of the location.
Even pronouncing the name of the disease correctly is a challenge.
The village, with scattered backyards and tiny clay and grass huts, with little ventilation, has residents gathered in the single stream to wash household items, clothes and bathe, without observing distances.
The only local health center has no temperature gauges or fans, and patients line up compactly, with dozens of people, who wash their hands in water mixed with chlorine, on arrival, in an improvised bucket at the entrance to the venue.
The same is true in the local market.
“In homes, we are saying that every morning you have to wash your hands. Even children on vacation cannot walk in any way or leave here for other provinces ”, explains Manuel Weta, adding that a“ green line ”from the district hospital was made available for telephone calls in case of emergency.
Maria Patreque, a village prophetess, tells Lusa that she was surprised when she heard about the new coronavirus, the interruption of classes and the remaining restrictions on the inhabitants' greeting habits.
Surprised, but strictly follow the recommendations.
“It is difficult, we are in pain with this”, said Maria Patreque, adding that she complies with the recommendations of having the house and children clean and the use of soap, ash and chlorine for family hygiene.
"Soap and ash has not been lacking in my home, because we were told to use this to prevent the new coronavirus," said the woman in the local language, shiute.
He wants to see the disease disappear quickly or be cured: "we are all with our hearts in our hands," he added.
Cecília Chanana, an elderly woman from the village, had never heard of a disease that shakes the whole world suddenly and at once and tells Lusa that it takes her peace of mind for the many grandchildren, who fears that they will not be able to comply with the measures of prevention.
“I don't know if this is the end of the world. We would not know how to prevent ourselves with everything we are told to do, ”he told Lusa Cecília Chanana, who ran out of batteries on the radio to follow the evolution of the disease in Mozambique.
Today she just sweeps the yard and washing her hands with ash and soap, the same measures she implemented when the village was invaded by a cholera outbreak several years ago.
It forces the grandchildren to do the same, when they return from the garden, after scaring monkeys and washing clothes in the stream.
The new coronavirus, responsible for the pandemic of covid-19, has already infected more than half a million people worldwide, of whom nearly 25,000 died.
Of the infection cases, at least 112,200 are considered cured.
After appearing in China in December, the outbreak spread worldwide, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a pandemic situation.
The European continent, with almost 300,000 infected and close to 20,000 dead, is the one where the highest number of cases is currently emerging, and Italy is the country in the world with the most fatalities.
The African continent recorded until Friday 73 deaths due to the new coronavirus, exceeding 2,800 cases, in 46 countries.