Messages popping into your mailbox from multiple companies in Kenya like the recently sent notice by Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) that the staff will be working remotely, coupled with the latest pronunciations by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, are a clear indication that it is not business as usual in Kenya.
The deadly coronavirus appears one of the worst peacetime crises, perhaps after the terror attacks in the wake of the new millennium and the global financial collapse of 2008.
While the World Health Organisation has warned that Africa could be having more cases than those reported by the authorities due to what the global organisation is terming “non-robust testing”, Kenyans can only hope that the country will not go the China, Italy or America way with new infections.
Coronavirus is an unseen adversary; pundits say it is so minute that if one virus was placed next to a strand of hair and zoomed, it would only be four inches by the time the strand of hair becomes the size of a football pitch.
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With this cognisance, the enemy needs to be tackled with tack. Sanitising of hands and surfaces and observing social distancing may seem to be little negligible ideas but they go a long way towards ensuring the virus does not get into one’s respiratory system.
Someone has also suggested applying pepper on palms to avert the touching of the face.
Failure to conform with the recommendations given by the Health Ministry can only be likened to being suicidal or conspiracy to commit murder.
Anybody can infect anyone. It is no longer safe to have physical contact unless it is an immediate family member.
This pandemic comes with additional lessons that Kenyans need to learn.
Sanitation needs to be a priority for everyone even after Covid-19 has been eradicated, which we keep making an orison that it shall be soon.
The Spanish Flu that changed the world one century ago by killing almost 100 million people came from unsanitary conditions (especially in the trenches that had been excavated during the First World War along the French border).
The insanitation propagated the incubation and spread of the flu.
Other lessons learnt is that for the organisations whose staff are working from home and the children who are learning online, the measure ought to be adopted further by allowing more flexibility so that tasks can continue rolling even without the need to have people physically present at work or at school.
Managers now gather that online meetings can be as fruitful as physical meetings.
The use of digital means to solve tasks cannot be overemphasised.
Kenyans will in future need to invest in computer systems that work for their businesses and actually encourage teamwork.
Knowledge management and sharing is another lesson learnt; people with information and/or the capability of sharing it should demystify it and proliferate it within their networks, including children, in a language that is easy to comprehend.
Information is power and could save a life. Literate people should translate what scientists and the government are saying and distribute this information with any uninformed people or those with limited access to information.
Saving is paramount; As quarantining and curfews continue to shut down businesses and countries continue to give travel restrictions, there will be economic disorders through all universal supply chains.
People also need to take care of the elderly who are more susceptible to the virus. Above all, Kenyans need to constrain movements, sanitise frequently and avoid physical contact with anyone besides the nucleus family, and more importantly follow what the government is saying through the pressers.
Solomon Irungu, Ruiru