Take all necessary measures to contain deadly coronavirus

Thursday, March 19th, 2020 00:00 | By
Coronavirus scare.

Sandra Ochola  

The world is sore and its inhabitants are in pain. The spread of the coronavirus continues to affect our daily activities and is impacting on our relationships in ways we never imagined. 

Much has been said about its origin and a lot more information is being volunteered about its management at the local and regional levels.

At the onset, there were concerns that the virus had originated from human exposure to a pathogen carried by animals.

Videos of people feasting on unusual animal delicacies were shared through social media to justify this narrative. 

But when the virus begun to spread too fast and a cloud of mystery engulfed its structure, rumours started spreading that the virus has been genetically engineered by the Chinese government to subdue anti-communists within its borders.

Those perpetuating this theory assert that tests were underway on the efficacy of the virus and that our current situation is as a result of a vial of the virus that unintentionally fell, broke and scattered its contents at the centre of Wuhan market. 

Another theory supports China’s involvement in the development of the virus but as a biological weapon against America and its global rivals.

Others intimate that on the contrary, it is the US that developed the virus against China for its political and economic ends.

In all these narratives, the vial still ends up in Wuhan and our human suffering begins.

We may never know for sure how, when and why coronavirus is with us today, but what is clear is that its presence and management will have a long-term impact on our global economy, politics, security, and governance. 

As it is, its spread has created an environment of uncertainty, especially where there is conflicting information about source. 

In particular, the theories of surrounding the weaponisation of the virus has an impact on global security because when one country closes itself in then the other becomes more insecure and creating a damaging cycle of during such dire times.

The result of this is less information going in or out of a country, which ultimately affects knowledge and information sharing on the nature and impacts of the virus. 

Socially, the virus continues to wreak havoc within communities. Countries, including China, Italy, France and now the US, whose death toll from the infections continue to rise, are doing the best they can to save lives.

As the world watches in solidarity, it is also comforted by the populations that have recovered from the deadly infections. 

Africa is just starting to experience the impact of the virus, with approximately 400 infections reported this past week.

Unfortunately, there are fears this number could increase and as such most regional government including Kenya and Rwanda have shut down schools and asked their citizens stay at home and observe highest standards of hygiene to curb the spread of the virus. 

Stock markets across the world have been grossly affected. This is in the background of dwindling oil prices, struggling enterprises and limited flow of money in the wake of lockdowns.

In fact, Kenyans are being warned that things are likely to get tougher as our economy and healthcare system come to terms with the spread of the virus.

There are further concerns about how we intend to cushion the low-income earners whose daily earnings are now gravely affected. 

More important is the need to sensitise citizens on how they can keep themselves safe.

Our slum areas, where the concept of self-quarantine is almost impossible, could easily be the epicentre of more infections if we embrace an elitist approach to our communication. 

There should also be more vigilance at our immigration points to ensure the number of infections do not increase.

As it is, most of the infections are from Kenyans coming from overseas. While we cannot deny them entry, we must be strict about their engagements upon arrival. 

The government could consider the criminalisation of acts and omissions that perpetuate infections.

While at it, it should also develop clearer protocols on management of the virus especially at ports of entry.  —The writer is an Advocate of the High Court

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