COVID-19

Fearmongers hurting war on coronavirus

Kenya needs to manage information flow in its fight against corona.

In Summary

•The Ministry of Health must make use of its messaging platform and send out regular updates to deal with misinformation.

•Prevention still remains better than cure in health management.

A man sells protective face masks on the streets of downtown a day after the first coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi./REUTERS
A man sells protective face masks on the streets of downtown a day after the first coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi./REUTERS

The first coronavirus case was confirmed on Friday, sending Kenya into a panic.

Shoppers rushed to stock-up, the stock market took a major hit and national and county governments banned public gatherings. Social media went into a frenzy.

Panic buying saw people fill their trollies with sanitisers, detergents, foodstuffs and tissue paper. Manufacturers quickly cashed in on desperate shoppers.

 

Panic buying is not common in Kenya and fortunately, retailers acted quickly to restrict the amount of a single purchase.

Social media was abuzz with true and false information. This only confuses the populace and to squelch, government needs to give daily media briefings.

The Health ministry must use its messaging platform and send out regular updates with correct information.

Mainstream media should not use language, such as 'deadly',  which spreads fear and despair.

Media also should not identify those in isolation, their relatives or residences so they are not stigmatised.

There must be more restricted entry, especially from European countries that are the new epicentres of the pandemic.

With the right information and enhanced public health standards, we can control the virus for which there is no cure yet. As they say, prevention is better than cure.

Quote of the Day: “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

John Paul II

He asked God for forgiveness on March 16, 1998, for the inactivity and silence of some Roman Catholics during the Holocaust.