Kenyans throw caution to the wind as virus infections drop

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020 00:00 |
Street gamblers disregard social distancing rules as they go on within their businesses along Landhies Road, Nairobi. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

It is business as usual for majority of Kenyans who have stopped adhering to the health guidelines issued by the government to stop the spread of coronavirus following the latest statistics showing a decline in the number of positive cases being recorded daily.

Kenyans across major towns have adopted the phrase “hakuna Corona” due the low numbers being released daily by the Ministry of Health as well as the don’t -care-attitude by politicians who have been addressing political gatherings.

In most bus stages and shop outlets, dry bottles of liquid soap hang staring down at virtually empty water buckets unlike before where it was mandatory for individuals to wash their hands and have their temperatures taken before gaining entry into any premises.

The rush for hand sanitisers and disinfectants also seems to have been over a long time ago, as the hand rubs are now flooded in the market.

Use of face masks which was being advocated by the government as a way of protecting oneself from contracting the virus is not being adhered to as Kenyans are only wearing them to gain entry into buildings and malls after which the masks are removed and hanged under the cheeks.

Distancing guidelines

A spot check conducted by the People Daily in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Kiambu and Nakuru counties showed that people had stopped wearing masks in public places, are not respecting social distancing guidelines in churches, restaurants and public transport service vehicles, while washing of hands is no longer the norm.

In Nairobi county , the situation is now different from before as Kenyans are now in their comfort zones and have been transacting their businesses without adhering to the health protocols issued by the ministry.

In most of the Public Service Vehicles (PSV) terminus, hotels, markets, streets, and even offices, people are not wearing face masks; are abusing social distance, and even the strict washing of hands has gone down as well.

Along Kijabe Street, a guard told People Daily, that Kenyans feel disillusioned with the government that is busy telling people to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols, whereas it was doing little to prevent further infections for engaging in corruption.

“Normally, I’m not the confrontational type, but I feel it is high time the President relaxed the restrictions and let people mingle and do their businesses in order to feed their families,” the guard whose name we can’t reveal said.

In Mombasa county, the adherence to the strict measures in public places which attracts huge crowds such as Kongowea Market and Likoni Ferry crossing is no more following the significant reduction of positive cases which has been attributed to the adherence of Covid-19 protocols by the residents

At the Kongowea market for instance, droves of traders and buyers transact business with little regard about social and physical distancing or usage of face masks. Only a handful of seemingly cautious traders wear face masks.

“We have been forced to use masks but in the end we are now realizing that there is no difference between using masks and not using masks,” explained Hamisi Mwashuhuli, a resident of Mtongwe.

Speaking to the People Daily newspaper Former head of Disease Prevention and Control at the ministry of health Dr Willis Akhwale warns it is still early to declare a win against the virus saying in some Countries like Brazil, America, Italy and Sweden are a good example of why it is important to stick to the measures.

“In Sweden, The US and Brazil they were very relaxed until they were hit hard much later. However this is a new virus and still being studied,” said Dr Akhwale.

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