GACHURI: Coronavirus situation will turn grave soon if we play with death

GACHURI: Coronavirus situation will turn grave soon if we play with death
FILE PHOTOT | VOA | Passengers arriving from a China Southern Airlines flight from Changsha in China are screened for the new type of coronavirus, whose symptoms are similar to the cold or flu and many other illnesses, upon their arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta international airport in Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. Some countries began evacuating their citizens Wednesday from Wuhan, the Chinese city hardest-hit by an outbreak of the new virus that is thought to have killed over one hundred people and infected more than 6,000.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has directed the repatriation of South African citizens from Wuhan, China.

Cabinet has decided on this course of action after due consideration of the circumstances, and following several requests from the families of South Africans in the city.

It is estimated that there are 199 South Africans citizens in Wuhan as per the latest consolidated list from the department of international relations and cooperation.

At this stage, 132 of them have expressed the desire to be repatriated.

These compatriots are currently living under lockdown conditions following the outbreak of the corona virus.

I am concerned, and deeply so: I am worried, and so are millions of Kenyans.

With 2,810 reported deaths since coronavirus epidemic reared its head, and over 82,000 cases, there is every reason to be concerned.

But what worries me even more, is the government’s seemingly mixed and uncoordinated response to the threat that seems so close.

I have seen the outrage, concern and worry from many Kenyans, online and offline, who believe the government is literally dancing with death.

By allowing flights from China, when other nations are, out of abundance of caution, blocking such flights, the Kenyan government is walking on a knife edge.

When Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo appeared before the National Assembly committee, she did not sound convincing.

And members of parliament, just like the people they represent, seemed at a loss with the minister’s responses. This is dangerous.

The government should not only sound sure, but convincing to every ordinary citizen.

That some Kenyan students and acrobats are stuck in Wuhan and the government has insisted there was no urgency in evacuating them back home, while at the same time allowing in flights from china, something is amiss.

And what is that theory of allowing in passengers from China, and asking them to self evacuate? Is it akin to telling us ‘we are on our own’?

I dare repeat, something is wrong, and could turn grave soon, if the government continues to dance with death!

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