19-06-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo
It is difficult, right now, to think about the total reopening of Kenya next July 6.
This is the unofficial inkling from national circles that should begin to prepare themselves to return to complete normality.
In the speech that accompanied the painful decision to continue with the restrictions for another 30 days, last June 6, President Kenyatta had dictated some stages of dialogue and confrontation between various sectors that should have drawn up programs for a slow reopening, a sort of cautious and prudent "phase two" to be managed with a synergy between public and private.
The meetings and discussions that have taken place since then until today have not helped to clarify whether and when the famous "protocols" for the restart will be revealed.
But let's go in order: first, giving a limit of one week, Kenyatta had mentioned the reopening and reorganization of places of worship. Churches and mosques should have been operational as early as last Sunday, but apparently, although they are open, they will not welcome the faithful this Sunday either, for Catholics, and on all other days, for Muslims.
The numbers of positive cases at Covid-19 these days, which are growing exponentially also in relation to the swabs carried out in the country, are further alarming the Government, especially in Nairobi, which is then "caput mundi" for the high levels of national politics.
Thinking of a reopening of the skies on July 6, and particularly of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, is impossible on the current side. From internal sources within the airline industry, it is expected that the lockdown will be extended by at least 15 days and then reopened nationwide with a view to the August holidays, which would at least save local tourism in coastal destinations. But even in this case, it will be essential to see the spread of the virus in the capital, because on the other hand it could be the sea counties that refuse people from the risk areas, or at least apply for the Covid free certificate.
"Since the government reopened our borders," said Kilifi County Governor Amason Kingi two days ago, "we have had the record number of cases in a single day, 7. We are now 34 cases since the pandemic broke out and unfortunately our people have not realised that infection is possible here too. It hurts the heart to see such indifference."
Concern at the moment overshadows all economic discourse and tourist ambitions, not least because although very few people continue to die and 80% of them are asymptomatic, it is impossible to know how many numbers and what kind of health emergency it will come to. Among the countries of the Black Continent that have failed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, for example, there is South Africa, which has reached more than 80,000 cases, just as it would be interesting to know what really happens in reality, such as Tanzania, Burundi and Zimbabwe, which have blocked the daily transmission of data to the World Health Organization. Tanzania, in particular, stopped on 29 April last when it had counted only 500 positives and in the neighbouring country life goes on as if nothing had happened. However, there is a very high percentage of positives, even if almost all of them are asymptomatic, among the truck drivers who try every day to enter Kenya through the customs of Lungalunga and Namanga. For Africa, at this moment, more than for any other reality, it would be fundamental to have the certainty that people affected by Covid-19 but asymptomatic do not transmit the virus. It could be the salvation of countries where enforcing the rules, more out of poverty and habit than out of ignorance and laxity, is really an undertaking.
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