Photo: Dr Muhkisa Kituyi the secretary general of UNTACD, he is among many experts who has talked about COVID 19 measures.
Covid 19 and way forward. Long post but worth your time .
Has Kenya and Africa dodged the Covid19 bullet? My gut feel tells me Yes.
Can we undo the gains ? Is the risk still present? Well sadly answer is again yes .
When the Covid 19 virus was first reported by WHO we all thought it will be contained and it will remain in China or at most a few neighbouring countries to China. We became all agitated as Southern China flight continued to ply the Nbi route and our very own national carrier .
Well the virus never reached us via China but one of our own returning Kenyan via London followed immediately by another Kenyan via USA.
I am not here to delve into history but it is important we reflect as we plan ahead.
Firstly I wish to congratulate and thank H.E The President for the swift action in tackling Covid. The appointment of C.S Kagwe infused new life in to the health ministry which was in the news more often for all the wrong reasons and he is certainly the right man for the job and he came in at the right time.
Folks we were facing a strange virus and it is still is so. It is always best to take extreme measures as opposed to trying to take action when things are already out of control .
Suspension of flights was the right move then as much as we were shocked by that swift action.
Closure of airports led to no arrivals and hotels and resorts had to close by default , a position never imagined it would happen. As I write this tourism and entire economy is belly up.
Schools and learning institutions were also closed followed by places of worship be it a mosque a churches or a temples since leading holy sites like Mecca and Vatican all closed shop and it was the right thing to do.
Curfew followed and I think this really helped to slow down the Infection rate as we never knew much about the virus , then cessation movement of Nbi and Msa was also key.
Now what next ?
Two days ago we were warned that August & September will be Infection peak and that was not the kind of News we wanted to hear considering that we are all feeling the impact of closures in our business and life . A day later H.E came out with a more reassuring position in that we cannot remain under lockdown for ever. He reckons we need to reopen but the big question is the how . He was also very clear that responsibility will then shift to you and I. We must keep an eye on August and September, we must respect the experts.
Since we now understand the virus better .
80% of infected persons heal without any medical intervention while a very small % get hospitalised and even fewer end up in using ventilators.
While we lag behind in testing we now need to look at Morbidity Vs Mortality. You may have the virus but may not die from it. It looks like Kenya and Africa is a beneficiary so is Japan and even UK where 80% of the mortality are people over the age of 60.
While morbidity may not be visible we cannot hide or cover mortality . So far we have lost 51 Kenyans and half of those fatalities had underlying conditions while a huge % have recovered . From this it looks like we dogged the Covid 19 bullet . It could be our huge youth population , could be our diet , could be our immune system … well jury still out there but also don’t we rule out divine hand in this since most of us are believers.
It was predicated that by end April Kenya would have 10,000 cases and Africa would hit 500,000 and above. From one of the graphs on mortality same days after 1st case was reportered in Kenya we are at 51 while places like Italy , USA and UK were all past the 10,000 mark in mortality
Now what is the way forward , well please allow me to share my 10 points
1. We must double our efforts to sanitize . Wash hands and sanitise . Even ordinary flu has taken a hiding .
2. We must continue to wear masks esp in public space.
3. Temperature checks at public places before entry. In case if anything above 37.5 means you are denied entry and report made to Covid centre.
4. Social distancing must continue if anything let’s up the game go physical distancing. Kenyans we are quite poor with this. Don’t get too close.
5. Lift the cessation order affecting Nbi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi
6. Review the curfew hours to 9pm. 7pm meant leaving offices at 3pm go beat traffic. This is key, completely lifting means we will go back to partying like Covid was in town for a period . Folks Covid is now in community transmission stage and the last thing we want is to undo all the gains of the last three months
7. Worship houses be it a church , mosque or temple should continue to remain closed. Christians missed Easter. Muslims missed many Friday’s and entire Ramadhan and Eid . If we sacrificed all that we can wait a bit longer . Social distancing in religious places is hard to implement besides you can pray to your God from anywhere. Holy Makka and The Vatican both remain closed so our clergy pushing for reopening may have to go next door Tanzania.
8. Schools remain closed but allow consider candidates to go back as we cautiously test the waters .
9. Reopen the airports with strict clear protocols. Copy from Dubai , Singapore and China on how they have done it . Slowly we start reopening the economy
10.Consider lifting the lockdown in Old Town and Eastleigh. Continued lockdown negatively affects immune system . There is even a bigger worry that anyone coming out of a lockdown could be susceptible to opportunistic Infections. To my folks in Eastleigh and Old Town I hope that was learning curve. Let us listen to the experts and authorities .
Finally I appeal to all my fellow Kenyans , when the conditions are relaxed it does not mean it’s time to party and act reckless. You may have spared yourself and family Covid 19 only to contract it while choosing to enjoy and having fun late hours at some place
The choice is yours but keep in mind that virus does not move , people do. Move in a responsible way to help us flatten the curve . H.E equally made it very clear . Relaxing the conditions is a matter of when and not if but are we ready ?
As always I choose to remain an optimist as we navigate this uncharted waters of Covid 19.
I believe we shall overcome .
Stay safe with your loved ones.
Let me know what are your thoughts ? Let us engage .
By Mohammed Hersi from Mombasaa, via Facebook