THE World is currently battling one of the deadliest respiratory pandemic in the history of mankind in the form the Coronavirus which causes (Covid-19).
By Michael Gwarisa
The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 has killed more than 14,000 people and infected more than 336,000. It has spread to at least 169 countries and territories. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on March 11. More than 11,000 deaths have been reported outside of mainland China, including 470 in the US.
However, there is an unusual trend to the Covid-19 regarding containment and management of the pandemic by different regimes. Despotic regimes seem to be doing far much better than democracies in terms of managing this disease and already, some of the world’s biggest democracies are contemplating using draconian means to manage human traffic and enforce public bans.
According to an initial World Health Organisation (WHO) report, a Covid-19 infected person can infect to average of 2.6 people and after 10 generations of transmission with each taking five or six days, that one initial case has spawned 3,500 in just a few days.
In Wuhan China, the bug infected thousands within a single month and every hospital bed was occupied according to CGTN News Ancor Zou Yue. To date, all the beds have been emptied and China is only recording new cases from those who would have travelled into the country from new Covid-19 infected centres around the globe.
China is reported to have used some extreme and draconian means to contain the bug and today, the country stands as an example of what should actually be done in order to rid the world of this highly infectious bug. Chinese authorities, police and military had to break the cycle by human intervention.
China had to effect a total lockdown of the whole of Wuhan and other infected parts of the country. A lockdown is draconian by any definition as it takes away an individual’s rights to move freely and conduct normal daily business. However, there comes a time when authorities need to sit down and weigh the advantages a lockdown would bring versus a democracy whereby people will be allowed to move freely, spreading the virus in the process.
At its peak, China’s quarantine spanned at least 20 provinces and regions, according to The Wall Street Journal. Wuhan, where the virus first appeared, was locked down on January 23. For almost six weeks, the streets have been virtually deserted as Wuhan residents self-quarantine in their homes. Soon after imposing restrictions on Wuhan, China locked down 15 other cities, including Huanggang, a city of 7.5 million people, and Suizhou, which is home to almost 11 million.
According to WHO, China’s containment measures prevented many more cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Other countries which imposed some of the world’s restrictive Lockdowns and mass quarantines include Denmark, El Salvador, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, and Spain. For Italy however, the lockdown came a bit late and people continued with their laissez faire approach and it got them in a very tight corner. Italy currently has the highest death toll from the Covid-19, surpassing China where the bug originated from.
The Spanish government ordered its 47 million residents to stay in their homes for at least 15 days, though that period could be extended, according to The Washington Post. The order allows people to leave their homes for work, the bank, medical appointments, and to buy essentials.
Africa and the rest of the world are beginning to warm up to the fact that the Covid-19 respects no man, race, color creed, religion or political affiliation. Contrary to initial conspiracy theories whereby Africans believed the Coronavirus only infected white people and Asians, the bug has already claimed black lives in Africa and it cannot be business as usual.
Increased new confirmed cases of Covid-19 are being recorded daily in South Africa and the citizens are in a state of panic. To date, South Africa has more than 240 Covid-19 cases, making it the second country in Africa with highest Covid-19 cases after Egypt. This is however, despite the fact that South Africa recorded its first confirmed case, several weeks after Egypt and other African countries had recorded cases.
South Africa is by no doubt the beacon of democracy in Africa, South of Sahara. However, its approach to Covid-19 could be their biggest undoing at the moment. Even though President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a public ban to all gatherings, it appears citizens are defying his orders in most sectors of the community, its business as usual, hence the increased cases even among those without any international travel history.
The same is happening in other African countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya and other. Zimbabwe recorded its first two cases over the weekend soon after President Emmerson Mnangagwa had announced some strict measures to contain and restrict gatherings. However, its still business as usual in Zimbabwe, long winding queues at banks, bus termini, shops, churches and other paces are still the order of day.
Its probably the best time the Zimbabwean government deploys military personal and the police force to ensure the public ban is adhered to. It is a known fact that most Zimbabweans live from hand to mouth and are informally employed. A total lockdown will certainly affect citizens’ ability to earn or bring food on the tables of their families but one way or the other, it has to be done. Its the only way out.
Rwanda is currently the only country that has effected a total lockdown. The country currently has at least 17 cases of the COVID-19 virus. All unnecessary movements outside the home have been banned for an initial two weeks except for essential services such as health care and shopping for groceries.
Both public and private workers have also been ordered to work from home to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Rwanda also closed its borders completely, except for goods and cargo and returning citizens. However, they have to be quarantined for two weeks.
Rwanda President Paul Kagame has been described as a Tyrant by many. However, his modus operandi always gets thing done. His word is final and Rwandan citizens listen when he speaks. This is probably the only time the people of Rwanda will thank and appreciate President Kagame’s actions after they would have successfully contained the virus.
Judging by how China won the Coronavirus battler, a “Soft as Wool” approach will not work for any country. Maybe for once, citizens should be ready to surrender some of their rights until such as a time when the world has been declared Coronavirus free.