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Opinion

Opinion: When handshakes Passes The Elbow, It Becomes Another Thing!

By James Deng Dit Pech
A graphic image of coronavirus (source: Wikipedia)
A graphic image of coronavirus (source: Wikipedia)

Feb 28, 2021(Nyamilepedia) — I was pleased with the lockdown of 2020 which was meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It took us one year but still did not work as we expect.  When His Excellency the President of the Republic of South Sudan saw that things were difficult, he eased lockdown saying corona is going nowhere. It has to live with us. I appreciated his move.I also welcomed the orders done by the Head of Taskforce Abdelbagi Akol for imposing partial lockdown on 3rd of February to 3rd of March, 2021. It was also saving lives.

Before I talk about the subject matter, let’s take a quick review of COVID-19 preventive measures on following areas.

Market – I don’t know what the partial lockdown say about the market, but the little I know is used of facemasks by the traders and customers. Are traders putting on facemasks? My answer is not many  of them. My own statistical estimate could be 5% of traders only wear facemasks. What about the 95%,  are they not carrying virus? Possibly they could carry virus and the chances of transmitting it are high. What about the customers? They are sabotaging that “Corona mafi”! they are not even wearing facemasks. Now how do we expect Covid-19 to be curbed? The spread of it is inevitable.

Schools — as per now schools and higher educational institutions are not operating accept those whose their students are in exams. By the way what is a student in relation to COVID-19? What a student should bear in mind first is his/her life. “A student is an individual who is trained to value his or her life and the surrounding. Your health is paramount as a student. So protecting yourself is also protecting others. I appreciate all the universities for providing washing containers, soaps and facemasks as the first line of defense. I wonder sometimes why the government is imposing lockdown of universities. The administration, the staffs and the students inhabiting this institutions are of mature mind. They should be allowed to operate.

Government premises — these premises such as public offices in the national and state levels are of bizarre observation of Covid-19 preventive measures. Yes officials wear facemasks occasionally (not always). Social distancing is nowhere to be seen. Washing of hands is also ocassional don’t even talk of hands shaking. I Don’t know what is happening in the states. But one thing I want to remind our government is (How much do you trust these foreign donations of Covid-19 materials?) I always fear of the word foreign. The word foreign is so dangerous medically in terms of health because this is medical issue.

Buses  — when I talk of public transport here in Juba, everybody has experiences except few who have their own cars. 98% of the population in Juba take public transport because their daily life is based in business they make in the market. The half capacity that was allowed is now a story. Why because the drivers imposed their own rules for a passenger to pay for two seats. When a passenger refused there was no option for the drivers but opt for full capacity. Facemasks are not being used in public transport. Only those who afford to buy facemasks wear. The security agents that have been deployed to make sure the orders are being followed is a different story. Among these agents are the owners of the bars, clubs and other places I don’t want to mention. Their family life depends on these places. These security agents go to intimidate people to respect the orders given to them, but they dash away, people go back to full business.

Churches —  Churches were locked down but now they are fully giving services claiming that God protects His own people. They are not even using facemasks, washing hands and maintaining social distancing as instructed by the Ministry of health. How much will virus circulate among them if one is infected?

Funerals  —  Funerals have to be attended because the death of a person is disaster to the family. Relatives attend for moaning and should observe preventive measures.

Facemask in relation to virus – facemask does not prevent you from contracting COVID – 19 but it prevents you from spreading the virus. Why? Because the size of corona virus ranges from 80 – 220 nm and the size of facemask is about 300 nm. It can easily pass through the facemask. In relation to temperature, Corona virus survived for long time at room temperature of 20 C0 – 25 C0 but dies less than 24 hours at 40 C0. COVID-19 is not curable. Does not fade away by itself. Current vaccines circulating in the world are questionable. It is going to live with us.

Playing cards, dominos and tea places – It was very fascinating and amazing to me personally when I was approaching a playing cards center somewhere besides the road. A military car was approaching too. The majority who were playing there,  were of higher military ranks. It was so congested. None of them was wearing facemask. Before this car reached here, soldiers ordered the people who were playing dominos to disperse. These places are 70 meters apart on the roadside. They took the chairs and and the tables. One of them who was playing dominos told them “Why are you stopping people from playing dominos when you are not even observing social distancing in your car? You have filled the car to the point of breaking. Some of you are not wearing facemasks” When the one whose orders were in his hands heard these words, he ordered his colleagues to beat him up.

At the playing cards center, it was a different story. When soldiers jumped down from the car, orders were given to disperse the people. Instead of them (players) to disperse, they  asked the soldiers to tell the commander who sent them. When they realized that this issue will end dangerously, they went back to their car and disappeared. Tea and shisha places are also congested too.

CONCLUSION

South Sudanese people will believe Covid-19 as a deadly disease only if many people contract it and die on spot. But if only one person contracts it and dies on spot, they still will not believe it.

We have been observing the COVID – 19 preventive measures from the year  2020 to 2021 hoping that things would change.

 As a medical student of Upper Nile University, I don’t know am I the only one feeling this pain. This situation would have the best opportunity for us not only medical students of UNU but also other medical students from other institutions. We have paid for all the requirements of COVID-19 such as wash kits, soaps, facemasks and hands sanitizers. What was the purpose of paying for these materials if we are still kept at home? Above all we are of mature mind. We strictly observe the preventive measures.

Lastly, I am pleading with the head of Taskforce to ease partial lockdown so that students resume their normal studies.

Fourth year Medical Student of Upper Nile University. He can be reached through email at dengdit90@gmail.com


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