CORONAVIRUS

Kenya partial lockdown is the best compromise

In Summary

• Total lockdown would lead to social unrest, bankrupt businesses and throw millions out of work.

• No controls at all would allow the exponential growth of coronavirus in Kenya.

Customers shop for essential commodities inside the Naivas supermarket as residents stock their homes amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nairobi, Kenya March 23, 2020.
Customers shop for essential commodities inside the Naivas supermarket as residents stock their homes amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nairobi, Kenya March 23, 2020.
Image: REUTERS

The government faced an almost impossible choice over the coronavirus.

A complete lockdown would effectively isolate the virus but it would put millions out of work. But no lockdown might allow the virus to spread uncontrollably.

In the event, the government has struck probably the best balance possible.

 

The cure should not be worse than the disease. Thousands may die from Covid-19 but is prevention worth it if it destroys the lives of millions? Kenya's very youthful population may cope better with Covid-19 than some other countries.

And could government manage a total lockdown? As President Kenyatta said, it would be impossible to deliver food to every household. Social unrest could result if people were starving.

So Nairobi and Mombasa have been sealed off but people can still move between 5am and 7pm. The curfew covers the whole county. Business has been hard hit but can continue to some extent. It is not as disastrous as a total lockdown.

So let's cooperate with government on social distancing and hygiene. Let's do our bit to minimise the spread of the virus. We don't want a total lockdown.

Quote of the day: "Arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity."

Kofi Annan
The Ghanaian economist diplomat was born on April 8, 1938