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Wrong Steps Amidst the Containment

Wrong Steps Amidst the Containment

Looking at the condition and activities in Cameroon I wonder why politics is involved when health and survival should be the principal occupation. Are we on an accurate path or are we considering wrong steps to doing away with the coronavirus pandemic? You should either fear coronavirus or make it fear you.

The negligence of our leaders makes it seem like they are not concerned with this health war we are engaged in. Is it that we are waiting for the dead toll to be in competition or comparison with that of other countries before any manifestation of awareness?  It is surprising how some very important aspects of this pandemic are wrongly handled both by the society and the government. Even the easiest rules are not properly applied. Covid-19 is a new coronavirus which is easily transmitted through direct contact with an infected person. As a result we are asked to wear face masks especially if we cannot maintain social distancing. Instead of joining in fighting this pandemic, on the one hand, some people prefer not to wear the mask at all. On the other hand others wear these face masks and remove them when engaging into a conversation with someone without taking the initiative of staying a meter away from the people they are talking to. I admire what some taxi drivers are doing right now. I entered the taxi of a man who completely rejected people who had no face masks on. With him even when talking to someone you either do it with the mask on or you leave his car. If everyone behaves like this man we will stop hearing of the high increase of covid-19 infected persons in Cameroon. It’s surprising as the government has even taken measures on the media to educate the people on the most important methods of preventing the virus. At least we can boost of some good initiative.

The government talks of containment on the media everyday which takes me to the question “where are the homeless going to confine?” They ask people to stay in their homes but we have many people out there who haven’t got homes to show for. If we have to consider the different ways through which this virus is spread, we will see that there are high chances that these people carry and spread the virus to almost every passer-by. In order to protect ourselves we must protect everyone around us first. The leaders themselves do not encourage people to practice containment. They organize meetings and are one meter away from the crowd but we see the listeners stuffed in one area. I saw an article on the cry of prisoners who said they were already at two hundred infected and contained in one room with a lot of pain. We cannot say that the government has no solution to this. It is reported that a policeman contaminated the prisoners and it kept on spreading till it got to this unacceptable figure. If the policemen who are supposed to be on their best behavior and show the perfect example on how to prevent the spread are also infected regardless of their position, then everyone is exposed and should be extremely careful.

It’s intriguing how washing hands and sanitizing them is a very difficult task for some people. Somewhere along the way more worries began to sprout on my mind than usual. The 95% alcohol that is sold in the pharmacy is very affordable for people who do not have enough money to get a hand sanitizer. I have seen people who make homemade sanitizers and it has been confirmed safe and effective by medical practitioners. Some people say it’s difficult to wash their hands more than they did before the advent of this deadly virus. Even though I don’t see where the difficulty is I think keeping a bottle of sanitizer in your bag/pocket and using it frequently is no big deal.

I hear people say that they do not carry out what is expected of them because we are in Africa and the continent’s hot weather makes it impossible for the virus to survive. I don’t know who brought this claim but even medical practitioners say that it has never been a guarantee that hot weather or drinking hot liquid helps to kill coronavirus. It is dangerous to ignore the restrictions put in place for our own interest just because we have ideas and guesses about something that is not certain.

We shouldn’t be talking of reopening plans when we haven’t got a strategy on testing and when we are not sure that the pandemic will be over by then. The test for this coronavirus is very expensive in Cameroon and the government claims not to have the means to sponsor it. Instead someone’s temperature is taken and when it is above what is considered normal, you are said to be infected. High temperature has never been a guarantee that someone is infected with coronavirus. Someone might be wrongly diagnosed and confined with people who are infected and then get contaminated instead. I find it bizarre that instead of our government concentrating on finding solutions it is already thinking of reopening plans. If we need to talk of reopening plans like the US government, then we need to be talking of reopening places like gyms, restaurants and supermarkets, and closing places like schools which are overcrowded. By the way, did the Cameroon government ever consider a total lock down like it was done in Britain, China and other countries? The answer to this is definitely no. the very students who have been prevented from going to school are out in the markets hawking while some move around aimlessly. Thus, I am baffled by the thought that the government is considering reopening schools without a picture of what the aforementioned activities carried out by students can endanger the life of students including the entire staff. In contrast to this the government should rather think of a wide strategy on testing.

Reading the newspaper, Essingan, two days ago I came across something very pertinent. I read that traditional practitioners and witchdoctors in Cameroon now treat coronavirus. People find it difficult to follow measures put in place by the government and doctors to curb this health crisis but take it upon themselves to visit witchdoctors to get some sort of protection.

This fight is a collective one and if we don’t join hands in fighting like other countries we will hardly survive it. If some companies change their activities from profit to civic activities then the fight will be fruitful. Companies that produce goods related to the fight can donate some to the medical practitioners who take care of the patients at least to spur them. This alone is a huge step to curb the crisis.

Many have the tendency of saying they cannot stay at home due to boredom. I have watched some news channels which say that recreation activities are very essential in periods like this. These activities involve doing sports, yoga, reading books and even karaoke. Exercise is very advisable for people carrying this virus. With all this no one can give boredom as an excuse for not staying in containment.

Susan Mukong

Student in Journalism, University of Yaounde II-Soa (Advanced School of Mass Communication)

Commentaire : 1

  1. Ade dit :

    Really beautiful piece ..that’s exposes the failures of citizens as well as the government to curb the spread of the covid 19 virus

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