Livelihoods, just like life itself, are crucial

What you need to know:

  • A matter of great concern is that the citizens have thrown caution to the wind.
  • Worse, political leaders, who should be at the forefront of curbing infections, have been caught violating safety regulations.

When President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the nation three weeks ago, he relaxed some restrictions that had been imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Specifically, he lifted the ban on travel across counties, allowed resumption of air travel and worship services, and extended the curfew hours.

However, he cautioned that the government would review the situation after three weeks to make further decisions on how to handle the pandemic that has infected 16,643 people and led to 278 deaths.

On that basis, the President is convening a meeting with the governors and top government officials tomorrow to review the status of Covid-19 management and thereafter advise on the next cause of action.

A matter of great concern is that the citizens have thrown caution to the wind. Whereas in the earlier months of the pandemic people were extremely cautious and adhered to safety protocols, that no longer obtains.

Worse, political leaders, who should be at the forefront of curbing infections, have been caught violating safety regulations.
Infection rates have shot up steeply in the past two weeks and fears are that we may hit 1,000 cases daily, and with that create an epic health crisis.

So far, the highest figure reported on a single day was 796, indicating things are getting worse and requiring drastic measures.
The impact of coronavirus infection is now widely acknowledged, ranging from economic meltdown to social and psychological ravages.

Thousands of workers have lost jobs and hundreds of businesses have collapsed. Schools and all other educational institutions are closed for the rest of the year.

Gloom abounds all round. For this reason, decisions on managing Covid-19 have to be weighed against two rights, as President Kenyatta himself proclaimed a few weeks ago.

The first right is health and the second is survival; the latter relates to economy and productivity.
Opinion is divided whether the government should reintroduce tough restrictions or relax them to allow people to get on with their lives.

Contrary views postulate that infections have reached the community stage and enforcing lockdowns may not be as preventative as envisaged.

Yet, such tough measures would create more suffering and undermine the country’s ability to recover.
Our view is that the government must be guided at all times with securing the common good for all citizens.

So when the leaders meet tomorrow to review and make decisions on the next cause of action, they have to strike the correct balance to save lives and livelihoods.