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We are not out of the Covid woods yet

By Patrick Mureu | September 9th 2020 at 11:50:00 GMT +0300

Talk on the effects of Covid-19 has slowly been diminishing in the country. Fewer people are tuning in to the daily Ministry of Health updates on radio and television. Even fewer are keeping social distance in their day to day activities and the lovers of the bottle keep wondering aloud why the doors to their favourite bars remain closed.

Many Kenyans have gone back to their normal ways after six months of abnormality, to paraphrase Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.

The government has just discovered that dead bodies cannot infect living ones with the virus and so many have started the normal festivities associated with burials in African communities.

Granted, the country has made great success in flattening the Covid-19 curve and discussions are underway regarding reopening our country as early as late this month.

With the current daily infections standing at a below 300, down from near 1,000, our country indeed can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Although this is a battle which is yet to be won, continuing to respect social distancing rules and following government regulations more generally will surely get us back on track sooner than we think. 

In this light, President Uhuru has unveiled an ambitious seven stage plan to facilitate Kenya’s reopening. We can already see parts of the plan coming to fruition, with restaurant opening times now extended and the amount of participants allowed at family events, such as weddings and funerals, increasing.

The State is already considering how best to put Kenya back on the path to economic prosperity which it was on before the outbreak of the pandemic.

Despite these positive developments, we must always remember that we are not out of the woods just yet. A resurgence of the pandemic is still a significant threat. We must be wary of callousness regarding the danger it still poses, with countries like France, Italy and Spain all currently registering daily increases in infection rates, significantly worse than what they experienced during the pandemic’s height in March and April. 

In order to prevent such a scenario, and despite the stated plan to begin the process of opening up, stringent measures must still be enforced.  

Short-term sacrifices are indeed necessary for the long-term economic prosperity of our country, as well as the personal well-being of each and every one of us.

These have included a further extension of the closure of nightlife spots, such as bars and clubs across the country, as well as a decision to continue the nightly curfew for a further three weeks. 

One of the most important outcomes of our significantly lower infection rate will be the sooner than expected reopening of schools for our children. Closed on March 16, educational institutions were not expected to open until January 2021 at the earliest.

However, with continued successes being met in stemming the spread of the virus, the opening of schools earlier for the coming academic year is appearing increasingly more likely. 

We can be sure that schools will only be open when we can be absolutely certain regarding the existence of a safe environment. Nobody would ever place our children at risk if optimal conditions were not in place.

These conditions will only be attained, however, if we continue to work with the government by following the current regulations aimed at restoring the day to day routine that we all miss so much.

Many have expressed frustration over what they perceive to be gross confusion in the country’s handling of the pandemic. The dynamic nature of the times means that policy might not be as straightforward as it was in the past. Nevertheless, we must recognise that our government is working very hard to guarantee the future of our nation.

Our President has never shied away from criticism. He has always sought expert guidance in his position as a leader and particularly, in his efforts against Covid-19. In this regard, he recently convened, “an inclusive National Consultative Conference to review our national and county Covid response and, together with all stakeholders, chart Kenyas post-Covid future”.

This will without a doubt provide insight into those measures that have been successfully executed in our battle against the virus, alongside those that could have been better addressed. Striving for national success is something we all are right to expect from our leadership.  
Never before though, has our own cooperation been as important as it is today in ensuring our country’s bright future. 

-Mr Mureu comments on socio-political issues [email protected]

coronavirus in kenya Coronavirus Pandemic
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