EXPLAINER

COVID-19: What it means for Kenya to go under a lockdown

Africa has not been spared as 35 countries have now reported confirmed cases of COVID-19.

In Summary

• A lock down is an emergency protocol that usually prevents people or information from leaving an area.

• The protocol can usually only be initiated by someone in a position of authority, in this case it would be president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Health officials take passengers’ temperature on arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, on August 14, 2014 /FILE
Health officials take passengers’ temperature on arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, on August 14, 2014 /FILE

When China first confirmed its cases of Coronavirus in Wuhan, it announced a lockdown.

It was the first country to impose a total lockdown during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The city’s population of 11 million was kept from leaving Wuhan to contain the spread of the disease.

With over 6,000 deaths globally, most towns and cities might be forced to declare a lockdown in a bid to contain the virus.

African countries have also not been spared as 35 countries have now reported confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Mauritius is the latest with three cases recorded on March 19, 2020.

Kenya confirmed its seventh case on Wednesday with the government putting measures to contain the situation.

But with the way some Kenyans are not bothered with the social distancing, chances of the spread to take place is high.

Kenyans in rural areas are still operating normally with some matatus still carrying excess passengers.

With the virus fast spreading, does Kenya need a lockdown to contain the situation?

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to chair a Cabinet meeting that will discuss a raft of stringent restrictions that his government will put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Cabinet meets on the day the Ministry of Health is expected to announce a further increase of cases from the seven that CS Mutahi Kagwe announced on Wednesday.

The government is concerned that some Kenyans are not taking the call to maintain social distance and work from home seriously.

But what exactly does a lockdown mean to Kenya if that was to be the only option to curb the spread of the virus?

lockdown is an emergency protocol that usually prevents people or information from leaving an area.

The protocol can usually only be initiated by someone in a position of authority, in this case, it would be president Uhuru Kenyatta.

 

The lockdown can be used to protect people inside a facility from a viral threat to contain it.

Depending on how Kenya is well prepared for this viral disease, it might call for a partial lockdown or full lockdown.

A partial lockdown is where a town or an estate is locked. No one is supposed to enter or leave.

For example, the first coronavirus victim came from Ongata Rongai in Nairobi.

If the virus was to spread in that estate, the government would be forced to declare a lockdown on that estate.

A full lockdown means that people must stay where they are and may not enter or exit a building or rooms within said building.

If people are in a hallway, they should go to the nearest safe, enclosed room.

preventive lockdown is a preemptive action plan implemented to address an unusual scenario or a weakness in the system to preempt any danger to ensure the safety and security of people.

This is to avoid dangers and risks arising from the non-conformances to the normal circumstances.

These protocols must be based on the type of threat, and should be kept simple and short for quick learning and implementation, and flexible enough to handle several scenarios.

This allows administrators more options to choose from which are easier to use in various scenarios.

The government believes the introduction of new measures will be necessary to protect 47 million Kenyans, especially the most fragile individuals.

Currently, flights to some EU countries affected by the virus have been suspended while the Dutch auction, which is the main market for the country’s flower exports, has collapsed with exports dropping by 50 per cent.