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Let smugness not stifle war against Covid-19

Thursday March 26 2020

Covid-19,

A Nairobi resident uses the hand-washing station at Tom Mboya monument to safeguard against Covid-19, on March 26, 2020. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

AGNES KAGURE
By AGNES KAGURE
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As Wuhan crawls back to life, as Italy battles an odd but, so far, defiant plague, and as more advanced economies order lockdowns, Kenya has choices to make from lessons derived from the ravages of Covid-19 elsewhere.

One doesn’t have to be a medic, let alone scientifically inclined, to discern that, in the prevailing circumstances, this virus is death-dealing by nature.

This, therefore, is the hour to awaken our common sense, to exercise self-restraint and to listen and act upon professional advice aimed at keeping us safe.

With the trends of infection and interventions, any smug cretin clinging onto the moot belief that it is a mzungu affliction is a public enemy.

This is not the time to advance obtuse philosophies about Covid-19 at street corners or trade nescience at market squares.

It is the time to pray for scientists burning the midnight oil in biomedical labs. It is the time to follow the advisories of those conducting research and those charged with enforcing public order laws.

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ATTITUDE CHANGE

It will make a whole world of difference for Kenyans to pay attention to what dozens of other countries have gone through in recent weeks.

We should know better than repeat the mistakes others have made in dealing with this pandemic.

To begin with, medication for Covid-19 has not been discovered yet and no one knows when it will be.

Medical experts maintain that our behaviour and attitude will ultimately be our salvation.

High-risk behaviour that undermines efforts by the government to contain the coronavirus should be severely punished.

Anybody defying the rules forged to keep Covid-19 at bay is a death merchant, no less.

We should count ourselves truly lucky that Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe inspires confidence at a time when despair and fear would, perhaps, have been our lot.

But his stellar performance so far will come to naught if the decrees he is making fall on deaf ears. The too clever-by-half loudmouths in our midst should let the government take us ashore.

PUBLIC GATHERINGS

It was heart-warming to witness such unity of purpose as at Saturday’s national prayers.

That a slew of faiths were represented at the State House event heralds a new beginning for our much-sought but oft-elusive national unity.

Instructively, a gathering of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus faithful triggered the exponential spread of Covid-19 in South Korea.

Realising the folly well past the unfortunate event, the leader of the congregation, Lee Man-hee, “went on his knees and bowed at a news conference”.

By that time those who had attended the event were unwitting vectors disseminating the virus.

Malaysia similarly suffered multiple infections following a gathering of Muslims driven by a noble intent to seek divine intervention and spiritual nourishment.

MAINTAIN HYGIENE

Nobody sees Covid-19 lurking in the air or on surfaces we touch or on dear ones we fraternise with.

We must be vigilant and observe the highest degree of circumspection to keep safe lest we, too, are adjudged unyielding ‘covidiots’.

From washing hands with soap to using sanitisers and keeping social instance, we all ought to make an effort.

Above all, let those who can stay home do so and support those who may not with needs and deeds.

Ms Kagure, the Kenya Universities Students’ Association (Kuso) patron, is a youth and women empowerment crusader at the Agnes Kagure Foundation; [email protected]

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