EDITORIAL: Public safety paramount

Tuesday June 02 2020

There have been commendable efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Most people are eager to protect themselves and religiously follow the  expert safety guidelines by the Health ministry. There is hardly anyone who does not know about the need to wash hands regularly or sanitise and disinfect houses or surfaces to keep the virus at bay.

Of course, there are those who, out of sheer ignorance or juvenile stubbornness, downplay the grave danger. However, the authorities continue to sensitise the people on the need to maintain a high standard of hygiene. It is also laudable to note that almost everybody now wears a face mask in public for protection against the contagious respiratory disease. The work of the police, who initially had a rough time enforcing the guidelines, has been made easier through the dissemination of information.

However, experts now warn that the enthusiasm with which safety measures are being implemented could pose a serious danger if not done properly. Two reputable organisations, the African Centres for Disease Control and the Infection Control African Network warn, for instance, that the increasingly popular chemical spray booths are harmful to health and a waste of resources. That is food for thought for county governments and organisations that had rushed to erect the booths.

Experts have also cautioned that the safety measures people have been persuaded to embrace could have adverse consequences. 

The onus is on public health experts to guide the country on the way forward. It would be disastrous to abandon these controls without having tangible alternatives in place. It is important that the people are protected from the virus but also the potential side effects of the safety measures being employed against it.