By now, you must be getting tired of hearing about the Coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic. However, the truth of the matter is, that the virus might stay longer than we anticipated. As such, most governments across the world have declared regional or countrywide lockdown and quarantine. If you are in sensitive sectors such as health or transport, you need to know how to move around safely. Here is a list of safety tips to help you.
Avoid all Physical Contact
Avoiding all physical contact is the first commandment of surviving Covid-19. As Africans, and Kenyans especially, saying hello to someone without shaking their hand is almost a crime. It is even worse if the person is your elder. However, for the sake of safety, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends avoiding all physical contact like touch and hugs. If by any chance, your job requires you to be in close contact with people, you can take safety measures such as wearing gloves and a facemask. WHO has made a handy video on how to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask. You can also watch the video at the end of this post. Also, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. It might at first seem silly, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Sanitise after Every Touch
Public transportation is one sector that cannot be contained or restrained in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. However, we can still try to move around safely through frequent sanitising. Holding the bus handrail or a matatu seat when getting on or off comes naturally to us. It is the same story in cabs, tuk-tuks and bodabodas. Since we cannot magically teleport ourselves on and off the vehicles, we should have a sanitiser with us whenever possible. Thank God, for the few bus Saccos that provide the sanitisers free of charge to their passengers. Remember also to use cashless payment as much as possible.
Avoid Crowded Places
Now that school and work are out, you might get bored of staying in the house throughout the day. Going out for a family fun day is always a great way to pass the time. However, according to the government and WHO directives, we should avoid crowded places such as malls and play-parks. Although some restaurants such as Java are reducing their seating tables to prevent crowding, this might not be the same for other joints. So why not go for a picnic instead? Or a road trip. Thankfully, going outdoors is not a problem. As long as the number of people is minimal. You can move around safely and explore the country as long as you stay away from the crowds.
Check Before you Book
As I earlier mentioned, there are people whose jobs cannot be done at home or even in the country. If you require to travel outside Kenya, make sure to research your destination. Microsoft has launched a real-time Covid-19 tracker dashboard on Bing that you can use. There are countries, which have a higher risk of the virus than others. To move around safely, ensure your travel destination is:
- Open for travel.
- Not a high-risk country.
- Not on lockdown.
Be Patient and Understanding
There are institutions such as travel companies, gyms and sports centres, that have suspended all activities for the sake of public safety. If you happened to prepay a travel package or tour that the service providers postponed, try to be understanding. Do not feel like the agents are duping you or that your money has gone to waste. Most companies just moved the activities to a later date to avoid crowding and contain the Covid-19 spread. You can only move around safely if you are safe, to begin with.
Minimise the Panic
There are people who are in quarantine without understanding why. People often react out of fear before they grasp the facts. No one wants to restrict your movements as long as you take the necessary precautions. Thankfully, the virus is not airborne. It can only spread through human contact. So even if you wear a mask but skip sanitising and avoiding physical contact, you can still get sick. Try to keep off social media and instead make more use of information from sources like the WHO for credible and accurate updates. That is not to say all social media content is fake – some of it is very good.
Know the Symptoms and Facts and take Necessary Measures
We should know that we are all susceptible to the virus. Some more than others. Individuals with the highest risk are the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions. Interestingly, children rank lowest in the risk chart. With that in mind, you should know how to move around safely depending on which category you fit. If you are presenting with symptoms such as fever, coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing, you should immediately self-quarantine and then seek medical attention. The emergency hotlines in Kenya to report any infection suspicions are 0729471414 and 0732353535.
You can indeed move around safely despite the Covid-19 outbreak. The lockdown is simply a means to contain the spread of the disease, but it is still not enough. Frequent hand washing, avoiding physical contact, self-quarantine where symptoms present, avoiding crowded places and choosing calm over panic provide a more comprehensive safeguard. Kenya Geographic sends you happy tidings to you during this time and we hope to see you as soon as things go back to normal. Stay safe.