Avoiding recklessness to combat COVID-19

BY MESERET BEHAILU

These days, the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is posing social, economic and political impacts across the globe. Accordingly, the virus has killed millions of citizens internationally.

Similarly, Ethiopia has been seriously affected by the virus with more than 3000 deaths and over 200,000 cases.

However, the country has been applying protective methods including wearing masks, taking proper sanitation using soap and sanitizers, and keeping physical distance to fend off the virus.

However, after a long fight citizens are becoming fed up with the unusual living style that somewhat stifles freedom. The picture above shows a throng of citizens on the road some crossing paths wearing face masks.

However, some of them have not fully covered their noses. This tells some masks are not properly utilized. Worse still,few have not used any masks. Likewise, there are also individuals that do not keep their physical distances. It is not advisable to gather at a place in such manner as it is the major way the virus can be easily transmitted.

When we look at vendors who sell masks on the road, ironically, some of them have not put on face masks although they are selling it to the pedestrians. On the other hand, some people raise concern about the quality of the mask being put up for sale on the road where it is exposed to dust and other contaminating particles including those transported by hand.

The picture above is taken in a Café where three individuals are seen reading newspapers without wearing masks at all not to mention forgetting to keep physical distance. Therefore, they could be simply exposed if one of them is infected by the pandemic.

The picture tells numerous things about the society and its reluctance to the spread of the pandemic regardless of age and educational status. Knowing only about the spread of the pandemic is not enough unless the required protection mechanisms are applied properly. It is an alarm bell to those who see this picture to wear masks wherever they are.

Ethiopia has been utilizing different protection methods in a bid to combat the pandemic since the outbreak of the disease. However, some people have been downplaying the protection methods and being means of transmission to the virus. Currently, the pandemic is spreading vastly. In this respect, the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and Ministry of Health (MoH) have prepared Instruction Number (30/2013 E.C) in order to combat the pandemic.

However, numerous citizens both in urban and rural areas are neglecting protective mechanisms causing upsurge of new cases. In this regard, 70 percent of urban residents have been using masks though this figure is yet low in rural parts of the country, according to the EPHI.

The data indicates that rural residents are more exposed to the pandemic than the urban ones for not observing the needed protective measures. But this does not mean that the protection method in urban areas is fully implemented. All protective measures should be improved and implemented by citizens living across the country.

To this end, the two institutions, namely the EPHI and MoH have agreed on educating citizens to reduce the spread of the pandemic. Accordingly, penalties are set to legally punish those who breach the obligations to sanitation as well as fail to wear masks and observe social distancing.

On the other hand the public needs to cooperate with health professionals’ recommendations and security people side by side to applying the needed measures.

Especially these days when the country is gearing for national election that requires public gatherings, citizens are expected to strictly observe social distancing and wearing face masks.

The Ethiopian Herald 11 April 2021

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