Current measures to tame virus will benefit economy in the long run
By Marvin Waweru
| July 28th 2020
Things have not been easy for many Kenyans since mid-March when the first case of Covid-19 was documented in the country.
Following a spike in the number of infections thereafter, the Government was forced into quick action to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
Among the measures was the limitation of movement in and out of the country as well as between some counties.
Social distancing, including limiting the number of passengers allowed in public service vehicles, the requirement for the provision of handwashing infrastructure by businesses and the mandatory wearing of face masks in public places was also rolled out.
While these new regulations and lifestyle changes have saved thousands of lives over the last few months, they have also meant the disruption of millions of lives in the form of loss of livelihoods as more and more Kenyans find themselves out of work and unable to provide for their families.
The economy has also suffered colossal losses, with many businesses forced to scale down or close down altogether due to a general slowdown in business activities.
It is understandable that it has come down to this, but without such measures, who knows where we would be as a country in terms of the number of infections and deaths from the virus?
The sacrifices we have all had to make are worth it if we are to secure the long-term future of our country. Take a look at other countries in the world whose leaders have dragged their feet in responding to the global health pandemic.
In wealthy cities such as London and New York, Paris and Rome, the death tolls have been devastating. They have shattered society and broken families.
Covid-19 is yet to be eradicated in any country in the world, with potential vaccines still months away. While the infection and death rates are slowly rising in Kenya, the situation is still under control compared to other countries, some of them far more developed than us.
The shift in our way of life, especially the recently lifted travel ban between three counties had seen many Kenyans start to complain that it had affected their businesses and social lives.
It had indeed caused an economic slowdown, but the alternative would have much worse. The government is still monitoring the situation, and an informed choice on whether to revert to it could be made soon depending on how the infection curve pans out.
We must be patient, for everything that is worthwhile requires time and patience. It is similar to acquiring a new skill - when a child learns to play an instrument or a new sport, it takes a long time to improve. Anything worthwhile is certainly worth waiting for.
The same goes for shutting down the economy and restricting movement. The ultimate outcome will be worth; we really have no choice.
As we learn more about the virus, we will begin to understand how best to operate and the government will hopefully shift guidelines accordingly.
[Marvin Waweru is an architect by profession and comments on topical issues]
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