Here is a pertinent and timely discussion on how to get out of the challenge of lock down from Dr. Patrick Kadama from ACHEST. Enjoy!
The Corona virus (SARS – CoV2) which causes the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not going to go away. People are going to have to learn to live with it; doing business and having social relations as, for example like they did with HIV/AIDS. Presently however COVID-19 has no cure or vaccine and as a result countries have sought to slow down the spread of the infection by instituting “lock downs ” to protect people and prevent their healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed.
Lock downs impose stressful conditions on society and countries are now looking for measures to exit the unsustainable current socio-economic restrictions. A practical approach is to establish a system of National Alerts, with indicators as triggers for easing restrictions such as the New Zealand alert system for COVID-19. Given the limited knowledge about the new disease, the exit will be pragmatic and step wise, focusing on a multi-sector framework based on the following three objectives:
a) Get people back to work to revive economic activities and support livelihoods. (b) Minimize transmission of SARS-CoV2 infection under the new normal; (c) Institute Governance and leadership measures, for strengthening stewardship capability for social services to manage new norms.
Get people back to work to revive social and economic activities:
Opening up economic activities should be gradual and not allowed to cause a flare up in infections. This will be achieved through scale up and strengthening of health and safety measures in workplaces prior to easing restrictions. Populations need to comply with new workplace hygiene and safety measures including sustaining new social conduct standards at work. Health and safety measures for public and private transport also need re-definition.
The return of economic activities should at best be prioritized and phased by sub-population risk profile. Age based relaxations can also start early allowing the young to go back to work, while shielding the seniors and those with underlying health conditions. African countries have up to 80% of the population young and living in sparsely populated rural settings. These should be among the first to benefit from relaxation of restrictions.