President Uhuru Kenyatta announced on Wednesday that the country will go under night time curfew starting March 27, 2020, in a bid to minimize movement of people between 7pm and 5 am, as the government looks set to reduce the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of coronavirus infections in the country, as at March 25, stood at 28 people, with the ministry of health announcing at least one recovery case.
The government, political leaders and health officials have been urging the public to observe the guidelines set, including social distancing, to limit the spread of the viral flu but many Kenyans seem not to understand the adverse effects from Coronavirus outbreak.
Experts warn that should citizens fail to follow simple steps like social distancing, washing hands using soaps or hand sanitizers, staying at home and minimizing unnecessary movement –as COVID-19 cases escalates, the country could be forced to go on Lockdown.
Experience from countries that resorted to fully shut down all operations, defines the true meaning of Lockdown to common Kenyan citizens.
In China, during Coronavirus first outbreak, the government suggested that citizens should not leave houses visiting friends –with many seeing it as just suggestions –but by about the fourth day of Chinese New Year the country really took things very seriously. This saw all roads and shops closed. For about two weeks, the whole country stayed home.
For many, the word Lockdown comes as a new word. “What a word. I first heard it during 9/11 and found it hard to understand. Locking an entire country,” says one Italian during an interview with Aljazeera.
Italy is the second-worst hit country after China, the epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic, resorting to lockdown.
“At first, being on lockdown just felt like enjoying a very long weekend, watching Netflix, lying on the sofa, reading books and eating. Keep on eating as never before. But then you realize it’s not an arbitrary decision but an imposition, with no chance to see your friends, your aging parents, no chance to go to a restaurant for aperitif or enjoy a museum or concert,” says another Italian.
Lockdown means no or limited movements. What can be allowed is one member of the family going to the supermarket, or grocery, and if possible, to buy a lot of everything to minimize trips out of the house.
Kenyans are extremely social people who will find any excuse to get together, talk, have some casual beer or glass of wine together –this won’t be possible under lockdown.