IRRESPONSIBLE CITIZENS

Kenyans ignore warnings, so lock down the country now to flatten the curve

Message of flattening the curve of infection by staying home is treated with disdain.

In Summary
  • Many Kenyans are still going about their business undeterred. Forgetting that doing so is not only risking their lives but also and more importantly, the lives of many others.
  • Lockdown is now the only viable option of containing the disease. If we waste more time, we will pay far more than locking down the country for two or three weeks.

Covid-19 is shutting down the entire world. Country by country, citizens are being isolated, quarantined and eventually locked down completely. Streets are deserted, hotels avoided, offices unattended and entertainment joints abandoned.

Hospitals are stretched and medical personnel overwhelmed by the sheer number of patients who need medication and care. Governments are pleading for help as they try every means to save their citizens. Humanity has been hit like never before by a virus that is killing tens of thousands irrespective of their status, colour or origin.

Kenya is no different. Just like the rest of the world, we are fighting the corona war, which is threatening not just our social structure but also our economy and way of life. We have closed our schools, sent employees home, brought civil service to a standstill and shut down our courts.

 

Playgrounds and gyms have not been spared as the government remains vigilant to ensure all areas of possible spread of the disease are avoided. The entire social and mainstream media is all about the disease. Everyone in the country, young and old alike, know about the coronavirus because it has taken over our lives.

While Kenya is at its infant stages of contracting the disease, other countries that encountered it much earlier are at their peak. Italy, Iran, Spain and others are at the forefront of the battle and are losing hundreds of lives every day. If social media is to be trusted, they have even run out of room in their hospitals and are treating their sick in corridors and car parks.

The old, specifically, are most vulnerable,  with90 per cent of those dying believed to be aged 60 and above. However, the young are not also left out. They too are easily contracting the disease.

The right to health is fundamental and is enshrined in the Constitution. While the majority of the times the people demand their rights from the State, there are exceptional situations where the State must demand the same right for and from its people.

Despite the lessons being so clearly visible from the affected countries, it is sad to note others are not learning from them and are instead ignoring the warnings. The message of flattening the curve of infection by staying home is treated with disdain.

In Kenya, every day we hear the Health CS announcing more confirmed cases of infection, meaning our curve is moving upwards. Yet, despite the new numbers, many Kenyans are still going about their business undeterred. Forgetting that doing so is not only risking their lives but also and more importantly, the lives of many others.

In Mombasa, for example, the county government, working with other partners including the Red Cross and Haki Africa, has put measures in place to deal with the pandemic. The Health Department is working overtime to ensure all safety precautions are put in place to protect citizens from suffering. They have marshalled all their workforce and deployed all strategies to derail the disease from spreading, including sending regular public appeals on how to stay safe.

However, the people of Mombasa are refusing to heed these warnings and so are exposing themselves to grave danger. It would seem the people do not want to listen and do not care.

 

The right to health is fundamental and is enshrined in the Constitution. While the majority of the times the people demand their rights from the State, there are exceptional situations where the State must demand the same right for and from its people.

The prevailing situation is one of such exceptional circumstance where the government must now put in place measures to ensure the people give themselves or each other their right to health. Since Kenyans have refused to remain at home to stop the spread of Covidd-19, the government must now come in and force them to do so.

Lockdown is now the only viable option of containing the disease. If we waste more time, we will pay far more than locking down the country for two or three weeks. Kenyans have proved to be irresponsible and cannot be relied upon to take care of their own selves.

To avoid a situation like that in Italy, which Kenya will fail to handle since we have far much fewer resources, we must lockdown now. It is better to struggle to feed our families for two or three weeks than to lose them. To flatten the curve of infections, we must lockdown the country now.