SOCIETY TALK

Lockdown frustration is at an all-time high

A wave of protests is sweeping around the globe, starting from the West

In Summary

• Many are scared of losing their incomes more than of contracting the coronavirus 

Eastleigh 1st Avenue street one of the busiest business streets in Nairobi has less activities today
Eastleigh 1st Avenue street one of the busiest business streets in Nairobi has less activities today
Image: FREDRICK OMONDI

In April, photos of demonstrations in America made rounds all over the world because of the powerful stances they represented.

On one side were angry protestors who opposed the Covid-19 lockdown; on the other, nurses dressed in scrubs, policing the protesters. The nurses stood on crosswalks on the street, blocking the protestors from driving. The protestors, in turn, threatened to run down the nurses.

At that time, I remember feeling two extreme emotions: anger and pride. The protesters were being deliberately ignorant at a time when the Covid-19 cases were skyrocketing. I felt pride towards nurses, who went beyond the call of duty to ensure public safety.

As the days go by, we cannot dispute the fact that the situation is frustrating us all. The longer we stay in, the more exasperated we get. In every home, tempers flare constantly and patience limits are tested.

Feelings aside, there is an imminent danger of starvation as unemployment numbers keep soaring in the economic recession. A few weeks ago, a woman in Kisauni was thrust into the limelight after her neighbour reported that the woman was boiling stones as a means to keep her children waiting for food.

Unfortunately, this story is not unique. People all over the world are suffering in many ways since the coronavirus became a global pandemic. Therefore, the desire to want life to go back to normal is understandable. In America, a frustrated President Donald Trump tweeted “Open our country!” in capital letters on Monday.

In Europe, thousands of people are protesting the lockdown and requesting their respective governments to resume operations as usual. In Germany, anti-lockdown protestors demonstrated all around the country on Saturday.

An estimated 5,000 people protested in Stuttgart, and at least 1,500 and 1,000 people in Frankfurt and Munich respectively. However, under the strict eye of the law, the protesters were forced to observe social distancing protocol.

Interestingly, Germany and its European Union counterparts had already started loosening movement restrictions earlier this month. However, the anti-lockdown demonstrators stated they wanted more freedom.

The protesting wave is only starting in certain parts of the world, but eventually, it is highly likely the rest of the world will join in. For some, the invisible threat of contracting the coronavirus seems unreal compared to the real threat of being unemployed or losing one’s income.

While the frustration is understandable and wanting to resume normal life is a natural instinct, we must also ponder the repercussions of hasty measures. Although it might seem like we are past the worst, as it pertains the coronavirus pandemic, the truth is we are not completely over it just yet.

France is already facing the consequences of their premature decision to open schools. Within a week of resuming school, 70 new cases were reported from various nursery and primary schools. Many affected schools were shut down after the incident was reported.

We must, therefore, take note of the repercussions of making hasty decisions regarding lifting lockdowns, for we might just end up facing dire consequences that we cannot afford. Especially as it pertains to the safety of young people in the country.

Nurses block Covid 19 protestors in Colorado in April
Nurses block Covid 19 protestors in Colorado in April
Image: COURTESY