There is a deceptive lull sweeping through the country despite a steep rise in numbers of confirmed Covid-19 positive cases. Since some controls aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus were eased, majority of Kenyans seem to have lowered their guard against the devastating disease. This is really worrying because the contagion is still rife and spreading like a wild fire.
There was palpable apprehension when the first case was announced in March and the daily press conferences by the Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe sent a chilling message. The number of positive cases announced daily and the warnings from the ministry alarmed the majority who adhered to the public health protocols.
Handwashing, sanitising, avoiding handshakes, social distancing and avoiding crowded spaces were followed faithfully. When lockdowns were imposed on Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Mandera, police enforced the rules with zeal and generally, most residents followed the rules.
However, nearly four months into the pandemic, majority of Kenyans have thrown caution to the wind, which portends danger. While announcing the relaxation of the curbs, the president warned of a return to lockdown at zero-option if the number of infections become too high. That is a warning Kenyans should take more seriously. Politicians have been warned against flouting the gathering rule, where not more than 15 persons should meet. Several of them have flouted this requirement, putting many lives at risk.
The youth are not wearing face masks and if so, not properly where the item is worn below the chin. They have also been accused of holding house parties, in complete disregard of the rules.
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And now, with the phased reopening of the places of worship, a lot of caution should be employed. Crowding and careless abandon in the sanctuaries could lead to a spike in infections. The clergy must take the lead in observing the public health rules and set a good example to the faithful. It would be unfortunate for places of worship to become hotspots and force an inevitable return to lockdowns.
Let us take personal responsibility and be our brother’s keeper to beat this health crisis. The fear of contracting the disease should not dissipate until a vaccine is found.