The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests self-isolation.
How is this possible where slums and informal settlements are part of the physical infrastructures of many African cities?
The choice to work from home is more practical for those who work in offices, however many make their livelihoods from selling goods at informal markets so how is that possible “on-line”?
The net effect of the pandemic will be to further entrench the divides that already exist in Africa. In South Africa, the working class needs public transportation to take them to their meager-paying jobs while the affluent classes stockpile supplies leaving little if nothing for the working class. Rwanda and Kenya declared decisive measures after just one case of COVID was reported. In contrast, South Africa only declared a disaster from the pandemic after more than 60 cases appeared last week.
Even in the well-to-do parts of many African cities, getting access to water is a challenge and yet the WHO recommends that residents not only self-isolate but also regularly wash their hands. With the coronavirus on its doorstep, suddenly the importance of access to water is of concern. The WHO and African governments are giving advice knowing all too well this has been a challenge that communities have already been facing.
To assist with keeping South Africa from having an influx of cases, they said it will build a wall along its border with Zimbabwe. As we have seen from the outbreak of Ebola and Cholera, diseases can be spread across imaginary borders. On one hand, the WHO recommends travel restrictions to help with social distancing measures, on the other hand, they question the practicality of building a wall.
Tackling COVID will need more imagination and alternative solutions from the WHO, the various governments and us all.
with information found at https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2020/3/22/in-africa-social-distancing-is-a-privilege-few-can-afford