Corona drove chisel into our system cracks

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What you need to know:

  • Another principal lesson is the collective push and decentralised management of the virus.
  • Easing movement means that several counties will experience surges of cases concurrently.

I read that “the one big thing being learnt from the coronavirus pandemic is that it takes any cracks in our systems and drives a chisel to them. So, it’s no longer a crack, it’s a huge chasm.”

This got me thinking about the many cracks the virus is driving chisels into in Kenya, especially now that the numbers have gone above 10,000 cases. The cracks are in the form of easing movement restrictions, curfew, religious gatherings and soon-to-be-resumed international travel.

Several countries assumed they were in the clear and eased restrictions only to see a surge in Covid-19 cases and Kenya should learn from them.

Russia began easing restrictions as manufacturing and construction industries in Moscow resumed operations. Russia then recorded 10 consecutive days of more than 10,000 daily new cases, with the highest increase since the pandemic began.

EASED RESTRICTIONS

It is also reported that Indian cities New Delhi and Mumbai have seen surges, while infections began spreading to smaller cities as governments eased restrictions. Other countries with reported surges after eased restrictions are Spain, South Africa, Serbia and Hungary. The US tops the list of countries with the highest increase, with 18,560 new, daily cases.

Now that Kenya is on a reopening tangent, the leadership can borrow some lessons from others and extend travel restrictions. Unless there is a clear policy on what happens once foreigners land in Kenya, easing foreign travel is reckless because preventing further importation of the virus needs to be a priority.

Kenya can learn from Hungary, which is reported to have sorted countries into three categories — red, yellow and green — based on their rates of new infections, and will impose restrictions, including entry bans and mandatory quarantine, depending on which country people are arriving from.

Another principal lesson is the collective push and decentralised management of the virus. This started happening with the inspection of counties’ preparedness but still needs more in terms of early isolation of patients, rigorous tracing, mandatory quarantine and aggressive testing.

PREPAREDNESS

Lastly, due to the easing of movement restrictions, Kenya needs to know that enhancing the capacity, preparedness and protection of medical staff is now more critical than ever.

Easing movement means that several counties will experience surges of cases concurrently, yet our front-line workers aren’t adequately protected, with the unfortunate death of one of them this past week. Over 40 health workers are infected, which clearly indicates that the pandemic is setting itself into the cracks of our systems.

Scheaffer Okore is a policy analyst; okoreschea@gmail.com