In December last year, the outbreak of COVID-19 in China was thought to be an epidemic. Within a very short duration this disease had spread all over the world leading to the WHO declaring the disease to be a pandemic.

The start of the year was very promising here in Kenya but with the spread of the disease across the globe at an alarming rate, the normality of each and every day was interrupted. What we are experiencing today is something that we thought could happen only in a movie.

It was just two weeks after midterm when the Government had to close all institutions of learning indefinitely as the first case was reported here in Kenya. This was an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus further. This has adversely affected the academic calendar here in Kenya. The Government has tried to introduce online learning but it might not be effective since only a small percentage of the Kenyan population have access to the internet. The government is also using TV and Radio programmes but most people in rural communities might also not have access to these.

Most of the scholars who were working in the hospitality industry have lost their jobs and others have been sent on unpaid leave. Those in high school and in tertiary education are currently at their homes with their parents in the rural areas where they are currently assisting their parents on their farms. Most of the rural areas are not connected to electricity and hence, most of the time, some of them are offline. As for the nurses and doctors, they are in the frontline helping the Government in fighting this pandemic.

It’s also the responsibility of educated members of the society to inform the community as to the effects of COVID-19 and how to prevent the spread of the disease. Some people within the rural areas still believe that this is a disease that affects people in urban areas only.

Most people who are working from home have to reside within the urban areas where there is connectivity of internet and electricity.

The Government has imposed a curfew from dusk to dawn countrywide and lockdown in some counties. One cannot enter or leave Nairobi which was the epicenter of the disease here.  The measures imposed are to try and prevent the spread of the virus but these have made life for most people who live hand to mouth unbearable. Some natural calamities like flooding and locust invasions are hampering the Government’s efforts to control the spread of the virus. Currently, more than 30,000 people have been displaced by floods and are being hosted in different schools. Within the schools, they are crowded and hence no social distancing.

It’s the hope of each and every Kenyan as it is for each and every person around the globe that a vaccine will soon be been found. I believe we shall emerge victorious but this will have to go into the books of history. After all this, it’s the hope of many that nations will invest heavily in research and, in particular, virology.

Evans Njuguna

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Joseph Ndungu Wangari