The coronavirus has brought a few truths home. First, that we are not isolated from the rest of the world.
Second, a pandemic that breaks out thousands of kilometres away will definitely reach our doorsteps.
And third, that when it matters most, and when it counts most, you as the citizen, can only be protected by yourself. No amount of government intervention can keep you absolutely safe.
In light of this, we urge Kenyans to personally digest measures put forth by the government to control the spread of the devastating Covid-19. The state has made apt proposals that can help stem the spread of the virus.
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Yet, even with glaring evidence from other countries such as China, Italy, France and even the US, the truth seems to have hardly hit home for a large number of Kenyans who continue with their business as usual.
Social distancing is the only sure, tried and tested mode of protecting yourself and your loved ones from the virus. It beats logic for you as the breadwinner of your household to spend the entire day moving from one place to another meeting friends and acquaintances and go back to your family at the end of the day exposed, with possibility of transmitting the virus to them, high.
Cannot work in isolation
We urge Kenyans to take it upon themselves to keep safe. Handwashing is one of the solutions put forth, but it cannot work in isolation. Individuals need to limit their interaction with others. The next two weeks will be crucial.
Data from other countries show that this is when the numbers of infected blow up, and those who were already symptomatic, turn critical.
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This is also the period when reinfection is at its highest and hospital resources will be stretched behind imagination. So please stay home and keep calm. Do not wait for the army to station a soldier out of your door to stay indoors.
If you really don’t need to get out of your house, do not. You are better off bored than sickly and straining the country’s health system while locking someone who may be more deserving of the bed space out of care.
That said we appreciate the uniqueness of Kenyan society and the need for a large number of Kenyans to get out of their houses every day to make ends meet. The impracticability of staying at home for many Kenyans is well noted. For this group of hardworking Kenyans, we can only pray for caution. It is possible to walk to work instead of boarding a crowded matatu. It is possible to keep off large crowds as you go on with your daily hustle.
But when push comes to shove, there will need to be a solution greater than a public appeal. Public service announcements may work in the short term, but cannot provide long term solutions.
Lastly, when presented with any of the symptoms associated with the virus such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties follow the MoH guidelines as provided. Not every sneeze deserves a bed in hospital. Self-quarantine and call the 0729 471414 and 0732 353535 hotlines for assistance.
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This will go a long way in freeing up bed space and emergency services for the more deserving. At advanced stages, the disease can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
As we walk into week two of the virus, let us be our brother’s keepers and do all we can at individual capacity to stop the spread of the virus.