It will take more than just memes and social media messages to open up the country, President Uhuru Kenyatta warned yesterday.
With infections already hitting 2,724 by yesterday’s figures, and indications that even the country’s largest health facilities are struggling to cope, the president laid down the bare minimum to have the Covid-19 restrictions eased, resisting pressure from Kenyans tired of curfew and a 70-day lockdown.
To open up, the country must contain infections and the numbers must drop, said Kenyatta.
The country’s healthcare systems must also be prepared to handle a surge in infections, which means avoiding a scenario where sick people will be wheeled into hospitals to find no beds and health workers too overwhelmed to attend to them.
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This also implied developing seamless home-based care systems that will take care of the sick to avoid stretching hospitals already handling more critical cases.
In his address to the nation yesterday from State House, the president was categorical that the country must develop sufficient capacity to monitor and trace contacts, which means more health workers would be needed.
Kenyatta warned that in the absence of these three conditions, the country risks going the way of other countries such as South Korea, Pakistan and Malaysia that relaxed restrictions only to run into headwinds.
“If this is our new reality and we face the dilemma of easing restrictions or continuing with them, what must we do as a country? What is the irreducible minimum for opening the country? What is the threshold below which we cannot go,” posed the president.
The new conditions spelled out by the president gave an indication of a country caught between a rock and hard place.