Recommit to being COVID-19 aware

It is human nature that doing something repetitively makes us numb. We begin to slip on the details, cut corners and take things for granted. We think that with seven Namibians dead due to the pandemic and our confirmed active cases skyrocketing, it is time to recommit to protective measures to battle COVID-19. We must jolt ourselves awake again and be alert and aware about keeping safe and making sure others around us are safe too.

Protective measures against a pandemic require diligence. It is easy to be on alert for a few days or even a few weeks, but now we are into several months with more to come. And yet, with one slip we can transmit or catch the virus. It sounds dramatic, but it is the case.

Too many people are of the mind that the virus is ‘just a little flu.’ Or, they think that bumping elbows in greeting while not wearing a mask over their noses means they are doing enough to protect themselves. This kind of thinking could cause untold problems and pain.

How many people are washing their hands in running water with soap for the full 20 seconds? Not many we suspect. Those who are most vulnerable in our overcrowded tin shack suburbs have no water to use. Tippy taps only work if there is water to put in their consistently and regularly all day long and someone has money to buy soap. This will remain a challenge.

Even at the stores, malls and offices where people were diligent before, spray bottles are left on counters unattended. No one is watching the sign-in process and no one says anything to people not wearing masks or who are wearing masks wrongly.

Dozens of ‘wrong’ style decorative mouth coverings (not really masks anymore) are flooding the market. People believe that putting anything over your mouth and nose is good enough. It isn’t.

Social distancing was always going to be a challenge in our society. It remains so. Now that the furore over standing further apart is dying out, the lines are getting closer together. Someone who asks a person breathing down their necks to step back and give them social space gets cursed at.

The tape and marked lines at the tils in stores are fading and no one is re-doing them. We are slipping just when we need to be ever more diligent about the pandemic.

People who can sneak out or get a ‘pass’ and leave Erongo and go back to their villages are doing so. Their fear of the unknown is driving them to a level of selfishness that is damaging. They feel safer with their families but is their family safer with them?

That wonderful meme kulu you love so much can become ill or die of your hugs and kisses if you are carrying the virus. Is that slight chance one you would take with someone else’s life?

We applaud those who are exhaustive in their efforts to work on this issue. Those on the front lines, providing care and security and services are serving this country and their communities well. We thank them.

We disagree with officials at the coast who berate the President and Minister of Health for not travelling to the virus hot spot area. That critique is irresponsible, political posturing. It shows a callous disregard for the seriousness of this global pandemic. COVID-19 is not a political ball to be bounced about.

So many of us forget to put the mask on when we want to run in a shop and get a newspaper or just pick up something. We are bored with the sign-in books at every store. We need to get ‘un-bored’ fast.

In the first two weeks of the sign-in sheets, everyone was very diligent and careful in their writing. Now, names are just scrawled across the book. We are getting lax and that jeopardizes tracing.

Let us renew our commitment to staying alive and staying healthy. Remember it is not just about YOU being safe, but keeping those around you safe too. When you get too bored or too impatient to follow the protective measures in place, think about the person you love the most getting sick. For them, if not for yourself, recommit to fighting COVID-19.

Please refer to – or use the Toll-Free Number 0800 100 100, if you believe you have been exposed or are infected or need more information.

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