One of the resounding calls that Kenyans have been citing is the need to stay alive, even as the pandemic depressed economic and social activities, spiraling millions to joblessness.
Staying alive has been a rallying call because you can easily get infected imagining you are young with no pre-existing conditions hence you can fight off the disease only for you to realize the folly of your casualness late. Indeed, the number of young people and children who contracted the disease and died some without knowing they had pre-existing conditions should lead everyone to be observant.
The Ministry of Health issued many guidelines, the majority of which are still in place to help reduce the spread of the virus. While the intentions were noble and still are, they have had devastating effects on society including on mental health, livelihoods, and the economy.
One important reason why the precautions had to be put in place is that the country’s health infrastructure is limping. Fully aware that huge numbers will crumble the health systems and lead to more deaths, precautionary measures had to be put in place with punitive fines to those who fail to abide by them.
Meetings in groups including conferences were stopped. Since it was still unclear who has it and learning the symptoms and patterns in the country, meetings offered fertilizer to increase the spread. In the same breadth, bars and restaurants were closed for several weeks. They were periodically opened with guidelines like spacing between tables, number of customers, restricting restaurants to take away, and observing curfews alongside reapplying for licenses.
They also needed to have sanitizers, water in entrances, and check temperatures of anyone visiting their premises.
Travels in and out of the Counties of Nairobi, Kilifi, and Mombasa came into effect.
However, movements within these counties continued unabated, to ensure minimal access to work, groceries, and supermarkets. The measures were later in 2020 relaxed and it is hardly expected that they will be returned.
Everyone was mandated to wear a mask and exercise social distancing. This came with the need to always wash hands with soap, any soap for at least 20 seconds, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Perhaps the positive effect of these measures was how companies started coming together to support the realization of these measures by producing masks, sanitizers, and personal protective equipment for healthcare personnel.
In addition, one of those important precautions is to avoid being deceived by fake news. Unverified information has been circulating whose source cannot easily be determined. Establishing trusted sources of information and not spreading unverified information become critical elements in reducing the spread of false news.
Furthermore, the needs to be alive to the symptoms that we could have or others have been critical.
The most common symptoms are; fever, dry cough, and tiredness.
The less common symptoms are; aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes.
Serious symptoms include; difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, and loss of speech or movement.
Fighting the ongoing pandemic also comes with eternal vigilance and the need to look out for our mental health, staying physically active