Apologies, esteemed reader, but I must visit this coronavirus pandemic that still holds the world in a vice, for its virulence. That plea for apology is borne of my failed promise to avoid joining the ‘town-crier’ fray over this plague. It only helps to send us into a panicky spin. Unfortunately, it forces itself upon us all. The avalanche of comments on it is assaulting our ears. Conversations, social and mainstream media are full of it. It’s glaringly evident in towns, countryside, on highways, in streets, localities, habitations, everywhere. It’s an all-levelling menace that knows neither frontier nor colour, neither high-flier nor loafer. Blueblood like Prince Charles or ‘black-blood’ like the fierce hater of his country, David Himbara (reportedly), it differentiates not. In this land, our saving grace is that we recognise the COVID-19 severity and effect the necessary precautions with vigour and rigour. So, we are in lockdown, as we should. Thumbs up our government for swinging into action with rapid, robust response immediately the first case was reported. With every rise in cases, stricter measures are taken. Our frontline ‘foot soldiers’, can we give them enough plaudits? They are down ‘in the trenches’, fighting ceaselessly that no case turns death-casualty. In fact, the grapevine has it that the first cases are busy in their confinements, doing physical exercise and readying for soon joining the ‘free’ lockdown world. Hail to thee, all doctors and other health workers! For working selflessly, ignoring the minute-by-minute danger of exposing yourselves to this hazard. Hail to thee, our police force! For being there, come rain or shine, to firmly guard the populace against putting itself in harm’s way, even if you be firmly in its midst. Hail to thee, all involved in enforcing government’s guidelines on self-protection for all! Hail to thee, citizens and all who have taken up the gauntlet to make contributions for assisting those who depended on daily or even hourly wages, as well as other poor families! Hail to thee, good souls on this land for rising to the occasion and following the precautions as spelt out by government, thus making our self-isolation blissful, during this lockdown. Of course, there are nasties among us who are inexplicably bent on self-exposure. There are many whose curiosity knows no bounds. The moment a directive is given not to venture out of their compound, they’ll always go out to just check if actually nobody has done it! And so is it with others prone to the self-endangering habit of, especially in open markets and back-street shops, gathering in clusters to gossip about this ‘mysterious disease’, ignoring the directive on social distancing. A barb for you all! In this barb-attracting mob are also employers in essential services who do not provide kits like masks and gloves to their employees. Worse are only the callous characters who seek to make a quick buck out of this misery, price gouging, unware their greed may boomerang on them. Fortunately, our ‘foot soldiers’ are ever on the alert, ready to tighten their own vice on them. Still, all these gossips and gluttons add to burdens of our government officials and those of our security apparatus, knowing well how these have their hands full. Imagine the daily dilemma that our protectors find themselves in, trying to contain this all-encompassing misfortune. Consider, for one, the story of a lone woman who, on being asked where she was walking to, explained she was going to her village home, 100km away. On her daily wages, her savings of Rwf10,000 couldn’t cater for rent and daily upkeep and so, what could she do? There are multitudes of a variety of such cases. Like this one of a family that has lost their beloved one and have to inter her/him in their distant home village. For some reason, the bereaved have to bury their departed one in the company of other departed family members, though in a public cemetery. Their wish, though some not necessarily reasonable, is their right and must be respected. Government has had to grapple with these and others that ensure everybody’s wish is granted. Sometimes it has meant deploying police to transport such people, other times to provide a lead escort vehicle. Which is not all, as the scenarios are as varied as they are multi-directional. So, this country is doing everything in its power to contain this menace. Sadly, as someone has said, when one person is sick, we all are sick. That “all”, mind you, means the world community. When neighbours to our south and east leave this fight in divine hands, do we have a fig of a chance of winning? God helps those who help themselves, have they heard that divine counsel? Some have taken to prayer-chanting-and-hopping the disease away. Others are holed up in a wilderness mountain in prayer that will see COVID-19 vanish. To our north and its east, if a victim wishes to skip the inconveniences of a test, oiling a hand in the airport customs does the trick. But in spite of them all, tutashinda kwa jina la ukombozi wetu wa 1994! The views expressed in this article are of the author.