In 1720, in Marseille -France, the Grand St Antoine, the big bateau, marine carrying many people infected by plague “la peste” which took 40, 000 thousand lives could have killed much more people in France and beyond had not been authorities to take tough measures.
Today, with already close to 27 thousand deaths globally and nearly all world countries affected by Coronavirus. The President of Rwanda Paul Kagame in his speech on 27th March 2020, called for strong solidarity among people, strictly respect the lockdown and closely implementing the confinement to stay home as one of the government measures to curb the COVID 19 epidemic.
While unquestionably this coronavirus has sequestered the world economy, terribly weakening banking and other financial institutions, Rwanda Government is playing its role in assisting least privileged and the poor to overcome the situation Kagame added reminding all Rwandans to abide by the rules to well wash hands regularly with soap or alcohol as frequent as possible, use masks where required and social distancing, avoiding bars, restaurants, churches, mosques, funerals and other gatherings that may be sources of spreading the virus among citizens. Talking about the attitude to this pandemic, the President reminded Rwandans not to panic and get stigmatized but bravely face it.
This is highlighted in the experience of Rwandans when the Rwanda Patriotic Front in recent years together with other enlightened compatriots stoically liberated this land. This great lesson should hence stimulate our minds and commitment for togetherness during these trying times facing the country and the world over.
It is to be noted that at the time the President addressed the nation 54 Rwandans already were affected and under the care of relevant medical personnel. With the testing exercise continuing, he thanked Rwandans and the Ministry of health for the perilous but well-done job to save lives. This is a national challenge and fight for everyone that need the right men and women in the right place at the right time.
Focusing on avoiding another virus of dis and misinformation as Chaplin said nothing is permanent in this wicked world not even out troubles to accurately and professionally avoid propagating fear amongst our communities and properly implement this wise guidance as to date coronavirus mortality rate is less than 2 percent.
The best strategy to my mind is for people to strictly follow instructions and be associated to this presidential message and carry out an efficient and effective sensitization and resource mobilisation campaign to face days ahead. Old Professors never die, they just loose their faculties observer Stephen Fry.
Prof Pacifique Malonga
Writer and journalist