EDITORIAL: COVID-19: We should not wait to learn the hard way

The fight against the Coronavirus pandemic is well and truly on. The whole world has been mobilized but not before the virus has left a trail of death in its wake.

What is noticeable is that many people on this continent do not seem to take the risk seriously.  The police’s dilemma is that they cannot arrest and lockup lawbreakers to avoid massing them together. In fact, police are emptying their cells of petty criminals to avoid congestion and the risks of spreading the virus.

 

But people are still not listening because of their misplaced sense of safety because a few African countries have come forward to report serious levels of infections. But it is those countries that report very few or no confirmed cases of COVID-19 that should keep us awake at night; many are sitting on a ticking time bomb because they are ill-prepared but too proud to admit it.

 

But there is another danger that countries will have to contend with; religious fundamentalism. This week police broke up an illegal prayer-session in someone’s compound where 65 people were crammed in one tiny room, defiant to the very last.

 

A similar case was reported in Uganda as people seem to think only God can save them but they disregard the fact that the first line of defence lies with them.

Earlier this week police had to round up hundreds of people who were openly defying the lockdown and social distancing directives. Maybe the few hours they sat under the hot sun was enough to convince them that the medical threat they seem to have dismissed is much, much hotter.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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