LEADER

Coronavirus is real but public still taking it lightly

A chat with two Kenyans who stay in the informal settlements brought out the extent of their ignorance and resignation to fate.

In Summary

• While the elite in most urban areas have taken the issue seriously and are observing the basic precaution measures, those in the informal settlements and rural areas pose the ticking time bomb for the disease, if and when it strikes there.

• Life is going on us usual for informal settlements dwellers

DENSELY POPULATED: The Kibera slum in Nairobi
DENSELY POPULATED: The Kibera slum in Nairobi

Many Kenyans seem to believe the new coronavirus, which is sweeping across the world, is a disease for the elite and globetrotters.

A chat with two slum residents in Nairobi brought out the extent of their ignorance and resignation to fate.

"Life is going on as usual for us. We are still greeting each other just like before. It is only God who knows when your time will come," said one, summing up the position taken by many others.

 
 

While the elite in most urban areas have taken the outbreak seriously and are observing health precaution measures, the  behaviour of those in informal settlements and rural areas could explode this ticking time bomb if or when it strikes there.

The government's focus must now target these groups. Officials must go out to bombard them with information, provide free hand sanitisers and, where possible, ensure clean water and soap are available for hand washing.

The well-off can lock themselves up in their homes, sanitise their hands, monitor their temperature by the hour for any signs of fever and avoid public transport. 

However, until and unless those in the informal settlements and rural areas are educated and protected against the spread, combating the virus will be a tough call.

Prevention is always better than cure.