Amref Health Africa GCEO, Dr Dithinji Gitahi, says there is no right time for a country to ease lockdown restrictions.
His comments come after Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a phased lifting of restrictions put in place to control the spread of the coronavirus on Monday.
This will include the reopening of places of worship and the resumption of both domestic and international flights.
Speaking to the Globe on Monday night, Gitahi says the virus does not necessarily go away during lockdown.
“There is really no right time (to ease lockdown). It’s been really a difficult choice for governments across the world, in Africa specifically, balancing lives and livelihoods and I think what now has happened is, you have to lockdown for a particular reason. The lockdown doesn’t mean the virus is going away, it just means you are more prepared for the eventuality when you open.”
“So I get the President’s decision to open, but he was very clear that now the responsibility now shifts to the individuals because civil responsibility is voluntary. It’s for people to now take this into their own hands and know how to protect the ones they love, so there is no right time, the right time is when the country feels they have a certain level of preparedness and the President did say, it’s not 100% but it’s adequate to take the risk,” says Gitahi.
Below is the full interview:
Torture and killings
A report released last month by Kenya’s National Commission on Human Rights revealed torture and killings at the hands of the Kenyan police amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The police are accused of “excessive, arbitrary and unjustified force” while enforcing lockdown measures.
In the video below, East Africa correspondent Sarah Kimani shares more on this: