The coronavirus pandemic is spreading like a wildfire. In just about three months, the number of infected people is rising quickly approaching one million with death tolls mounting each day.
Globally more than 170 countries are stricken by the Covid-19 deadly virus. The global community is confused. Every civilization is terrorized and couldn’t figure out what to do to contain the erratically engulfing virus as the likes of South Africa already called its rapid infection rates as “explosive”. Scientists are trying to find a cure sparing no time to understand the origin of COVID-19 and the virus that causes it, billions of people are lockdown in their homes in an effort to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Initially, researchers thought the virus could have developed in bats, and later pangolins then transmitting to humans. However, these things seems to be fading away from media reports and discussions. There are a whole dozens of matters to worry about and containing the spread is the make or break fight.
Leaders warn countries to be prepare for the worst is yet to come, but it has already began exercising the most awful costs the virus can wreak. People are not allowed to bury the dead. Loved once are departing from their hospital beds without the consul of their loved ones being on their side.
Since the virus doesn’t know boundaries and makes no distinctions among the poor and the rich, the educated and the layman, among the leaders and the their subjects, the likes of Mano Dibango, the renowned Cameroon musician fail ill to Covid- 19 and died in Paris. Sadly, the 78 year old star was laid to rest without his relatives and loved ones. The celebrated musician was buried as if the world doesn’t know who he was.
Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister was one of the victims of the coronavirus. A number of his ministerial cabinet members also found to be positive. Football players and movie stars have also been reporting positive and their isolation or quarantine measures.
According to Tedros Adhanom (PhD), director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), the world is yet to experience the worst magnitudes of the virus and Africa which currently is still having the lowest rates of infection cases and deaths, is feared waiting to face explosions of the pandemic.
Gradually, the spread of virus has changed its pattern in ways that within a short period of time it has been able to locally transmit than being an imported case to continent.
Next to China where the virus has originated, Italy was the epicenter of the Covid-19 until the US has taken witnessing a dashing rates of infections where some 140,000 patients being reported to contract the virus last week. Recognizing the dangers and the worst waiting in store, many countries have introduced strict measures to restrict movements of people. For instance, South Africa having the highest infection cases has introduced a 21 days of lockdown, and stringent measures are enforced across its townships. Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, Uganda, and even Somalia have introduced restrictive measures.
Ethiopia as well has introduced partial restrictions. It has locked all its borders and disallowed people from crossing. School children are forced at first to stay at home for two weeks and later that was extended for additional two week. University students at first were ordered not to leave campus and later on obligated to go home. More than 30 million students are currently staying at home. Effective as of March 25, 2020, the Council of Ministers has passed a decision to initiate work from home protocols until further notice are issued. Based on their criteria as the council directed, several ministries have told thousands of employees to stay inside and work from home.
Regional States are also imposing restrictive measures and sanctions. For instance, Tigray Region has declared a region-wide state of emergency in an effort to restrict movement of people from city to city and from city to rural villages and vice versa.
Ever since the pandemic is getting worse and severe and came to stay for long, it has ruthlessly disordered the everyday lives of the world. To prevent the exponential spread of the virus, the global health organization has recommended social distancing, frequent hand washing and avoiding touching face, mainly mouth, noise and eyes, avoiding mass gatherings.
However, some of the recommended safety measures have found to be daunting to many societies especially to those who live on daily wages are the most vulnerable groups at risk of contracting Covid-19. Social distancing and sanitation remain to be the most concerning pitfalls in Ethiopia. Though faith based institutions have agreed to stop daily religious services, many people are still struggling to tolerate basic safety restrictions.
Gatherings at market places, queuing for public transports, sitting in groups in hotels, restaurants and cafes and the like are creeping around and that makes it hard for the health workers even to the authorities to contain the gently rising infection cases. Since last week until press time, the total cases Ethiopia has reported climbed to 21 while active cases being only 17. The Ministry of Health has announced that two victims have recovered and two Japanese patients have been discharged to go home. However, the growing number of infections and the looming local transmissions, partial transportation bans are trending in some parts of the country. Signs indicate that there will be a countrywide lockdown measures soon to be put in place.
But before heading towards lockdown restrictions, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) preferred to frequently appear on Television to warn the public to strengthen efforts of preparedness and to obey safety guidelines.
In addition to that, on March 27, 2020, the PM has stipulated the revised social and economic stimulation packages. A new 20 billion birr economic and social emergency budget has been approved and out of that 15 billion birr is spared for businesses that are already affected the global pandemic. Five billion birr is set aside to purchase healthcare equipment and consumable items.
From the regional scope, it is to be recalled that the PM has requested the G20 countries to allot USD 150 billion for Africa’s struggle to wither the impacts of Covid-19. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has reported that the African ministers of finance have requested for a backing of USD 100 billion for Africa as Covid-19 is encircling Africa as its latest destination for aching devastations.