The Current COVID-19 data in Kenya clearly suggests that the pandemic spread is getting worse. There are important practical implications that we can derive from this information for the benefit of UN personnel and dependents:
- The risk of contracting COVID-19 infection is now higher than it was about 2 months ago. This applies to our home environment but especially to external activities such as shopping, social engagements and other public interactions.
- Consistent observance of COVID-19 preventive measures has never been more important.
- We all need to have sense of shared responsibility in bringing this pandemic under control by keeping other people in our community safe. One person’s poor choices or reckless behavior can cause unintentional but immense harm to family, friends and colleagues.
Today, JMS would like to draw your attention to the importance of applying shared responsibility when making health and safety decisions in relation to public transportation or shared transportation such as Car-pooling. The following questions may help us reflect more clearly when making such decisions:
- Personal considerations: Do I have an option of deferring the shared transportation or perhaps considering a safer transport modality? Do I have an underlying health condition that may place me at higher risk of COVID-19 complications?
- Traveler considerations: Do I know the health status of the other occupants of the vehicle which will be used for shared transport? Have I made certain assumptions about the other vehicle occupants due to familiarity? When using car-pooling for transport, do you find yourself thinking : I know these people, they are just colleagues!
- Vehicle considerations: Does the vehicle condition allow for adequate ventilation?
- Public Health compliance:
- Will it be practically feasible to apply the necessary physical distancing of 1-2 Metres when using the said transportation?
- Does the Taxi or transport company diligently apply the mandatory public health guidelines for COVID-19 prevention?
- Will the other occupants remain compliant with COVID-19 prevention measures during the trip i.e. using face covering, physical distancing, covering their cough and practice of hand hygiene? (In all cases it is important to observe hand hygiene measures by using alcohol hand sanitizer before and during the trip).
- Personal decision: What precautions must I apply if I still need to use public or shared transport to arrive at my destination?
As you reflect on above questions, you will note that certain considerations are beyond our personal knowledge or control. For example, It is not feasible to know the COVID-19 status of fellow occupants of a vehicle even if they don’t have the common COVID-19 symptoms. Several COVID-19 transportation guidelines recommend mandatory public health precautions. In Kenya, wearing of face covering in public spaces remains a mandatory public health requirement even if not uniformly practiced by the public.
The sum effect of this analysis means that we need to consider our choices very carefully in order to avoid the risk of contracting COVID-19 infection during transportation in settings such as car-pooling with non-family members or using typically unsafe public transport modalities.
KEEP HEALTHY & SAFE!
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JMS Staff Counselor contacts: Tel: +254 728 961 939 or + 254 793 484 333