Kenya 2 ー What to do during COVID-19 in Africa

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No more surprise when you see the big number of confirmed case and death toll, as well as airport shutdown and lockdown. Yes, this became a part of our life.

Some people said this COVID-19 is not so active in hot environment (true) thus it might not come to Africa (not true). Here I am in Kenya, where there is no international flight with curfew.

As not so many people can see the taste of what is happening in part of Africa, let me share some snapshots, and how I am coping, which can apply to anyone in the world now.

What is going on in the world

Over 1 month has passed since WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, and as the below image shows, it really became a global issue with over 2.5 million confirmed cases as of April 21 (Source).

Someone said this is a silent World War III around China VS the US, and in fact both have unique pictures below (on the right side, the US is increasing its case towards 1 million whereas Chinese case remains below 100K despite being the origin of the virus)

This unprecedented crisis affecetd most of us (if not all). In addition to the negative side, Interestingly, due to the situation, there are some inexpected positive results, such as

  • lower gas emmission (pollution in New York reduced by 50% and emission of gass fell 25% at the start of the year in China)
  • Influenza and other respiratory infectious diseases may also be prevented to some extent while fighting the pandemic of COVID-19
  • Potential of innovation, as human beings evolved by facing challenges
  • Opportunity to be grateful for simple things
  • More time to learn something new
  • And more?

The way we live, work, study and communicate have drastically changed and this will change many things not only during this outbreak but also after this calms down.

What is going on in the Africa

The above images show that the number of confirmed case in Africa (blue in the bottom in the first picture) are much lower than other continents with the total of below 25,000 (as of April 21). In a month or so, however, it is expected to elevate just like other areas. If that happens, the situation will get much more complicated due to the poor health system which cannot accommodate large number of infected patients. That is also why Japanese government asked all Japanese citizen in Africa to consider to return home (it applies to other governemnts).

Just like other continents, most countries in Africa underwent country-wide school closure, and I am supporting to provide distance learning, which is tough but rewarding.

What is going on in Kenya

  • 13 Mar: First case and school closure (and launch of distance learning and recommendation of teleworking)
  • 25 Mar: Flight ban (all the foreigners started to return home before then)
  • 27 Mar: Declaration of curfew between 7pm and 5 am (police officers abused unnecessarily those who don’t follow)
  • 6 Apr: Movement restriction (prohibition of going in/out the city, everyone has to wear masks otherwise fine and/or arrest)

Honestly, despite being a hub of Africa where many people come in frequently, Kenya is doing pretty good job in terms of trying to mitigate and respond. As of 21 Apr, Kenya has still below 300 cases.

However, as a secondary effect, terrible news keeps coming in the country: police officers started abusing those who don’t follow curfew (mentioned in the article “Killing in the name of corona’: Death toll soars from Kenya’s curfew crackdown“). Unfortunately, similar news is also heard in other African nations.

On the street, I was also pointed out, saying “Corona” as the image of COVID-19=China=Asian” still remains in people’s mindset.

As a foreigner, not being able to leave the country is psychologically difficult. But compared to other difficult places (countries, slums, refugee camps, etc.), Nairobi is quite livable even in this time (also, there is delivery service for shopping).

What are necessary actions

In a nutshell, I am enclosed but not in the worst situation. I have to keep working at home and live well (not just to live). It is even more difficult to maintain/increase your physical and mental wellbeing.

How do we do? As mentioned in the previous post (3E is the Condition to Have a Better Life Especially in a Difficult Time) we need to Eat well, Exercise well and Energize well. Among them, for most people, exercising at home might not be something very familiar, but as long as you have video exercise  program (even youtube has tons of them) and show on your screen (TV, laptop or even your phone), you can work out at home. My recommendation is having a variety and keep the routine. Some programs I used are

We need to be resilient just like the government and communities are supposed to be. What does it mean, “be resilient” by the way?

Resilient person is able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.

Let’s not panic, look at Maslow’s basic needs hierarchy (food and drink, security, social tie), stock up, and do 3E.

The learning of this time 

COVID-19 is affecting across the globe, and although the number of case is still lower than others, Africa including Kenya can be a great threat, which is also why we need to maintain our wellbeing more than ever.  

Thank you for reading this article. If you like it, please don’t forget to subscribe. If you have any comments/questions, please feel free to leave. Have great learning!

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