• September 22nd, 2020

Weekly takeaway with Lawrence Kamwi - Fears that the new normal is not a temporary feature

Alternate scenes of shock and surprise played out this week as world societies, businesses and communities opened up further.
   While the residence lift, for example, was previously strictly limited to four passengers who confined themselves to its four corners, a relaxed atmosphere greeted the dawn of a new month.
The same casual approach seemed to affect the strictness that had attended to masks, hand sanitisers, and the use of alcohol-based sprays on frequently-touched fixtures and handles.

   The emerging lackadaisical attitudes seemed to confirm concerns that a Covid-19 quarantine or caution fatigue is a real danger that we need to guard against. 
Interviewed by Time magazine, behavioural sciences academic Jacqueline Gollan observed that, “the prolonged cocktail of stress, anxiety, isolation and disrupted routines has left many people drained and more lax about social distancing guidelines.”
   Neuropsychology professor Eric Zillmer warned that wearing masks and the energy required to comply with safety guidelines “gets old very quickly.”

While there is a tentative agreement that we have passed the stage where full-scale lockdowns are necessary, people are still concerned about the permitted relaxations and their possible impact on keeping the coronavirus pandemic under control.
   As the month of June came to a close, the world stood, once more, in shared moments of reflection. After all, its interconnectedness has been confirmed by the ruthless and rapid manner in which the Covid-19 pandemic found its way around the world.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recalled that the Chinese authorities first raised the alarm over cases of “pneumonia of unknown cause” six months ago. On the African continent, the WHO Regional Director Matshidiso Moeti observed that the continent “is no longer the WHO region least affected by Covid-19”, as cases rose above three hundred thousand with more than eight thousand deaths.
   The WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that the worst is yet to come in the pandemic as global cases and death tolls climbed. He called on the world to remain vigilant: “some countries have now experienced a resurgence of cases as they start to reopen their economies and societies. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over.
This is a time for renewing our commitment to empowering communities, suppressing transmission, saving lives, accelerating research...”

   The need for people to remain vigilant, socially responsible and personally disciplined occupies a large part of the conversations of those who are going back to the re-opened world. People are aware of and challenged by, the inherent risks that loom large as countries open up. 
Indeed, many keep recalling that the WHO has warned that people should avoid falling into a phase where they get tired of and become nonchalant about restrictions.

   In assorted group discussions during the week, participants expressed concern over the palpable and understandably excitable relief that has come with the relaxation of containment rules.
The discussions were preoccupied with the constant reminder that it does not necessarily only take big gatherings for the virus to spread.
   In order to encourage the observance of the recommended hygiene and social distancing measures, it was agreed that public health information should emphasise the paramountcy of good hygiene. It is worth noting that the real value of the measures which were introduced to break the Covid-19 transmission rates is also seen in their ability to also reduce the cases of other communicable diseases.

Staff Reporter
2020-07-03 10:23:13 | 2 months ago


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