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Equinox: A Time of Change

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on April 1, 2020 11:33

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In astrology, the equinox – the moment when day and night are the same length -- is a time of change. Our lives, in Africa and elsewhere, are changing -- dramatically for some. What can we expect? What should we work for?

Cocaine, alcohol, continuous sex – these are some cures that Nigerian Twitter users claimed to be the cure Coronavirus. They were debunked. After denials, Nigeria has now announced that a senior officer in the Presidency has tested positive and a partial lockdown will follow. South Africa Started a near-total lockdown on Friday, March 26, as more than 900 positive cases were identified. Rwanda, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are also locking down. 

Bamako, Mali. Under the tranquility, factions struggle. Photo by author.

War-ravaged Libya reported its first case following Algeria and Egypt. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and other top officials will forego much of their salaries for the duration, while Uganda bans public transport for the coming two weeks. 

Traffic in Douala, Cameroon. How do you lock this down? Photo by author


The South African Reserve Bank is taking drastic measures to prop up an economy that was in recession before the crisis. Many African countries and their economies are still recovering from the Ebola Epidemic of the last few years. Economies are fragile and will be hard hit by losses in export earnings and medical costs. Medical services need massive funding. A virtual meeting of African Ministers of Finance to coordinate responses identified a need for Global Organizations’ support, the use of existing funds and systems, and protection of vulnerable populations. An immediate economic stimulus of $100 billion was needed, a waiver of interest payments requested, and the support of the private sector encouraged. 

Societies can collapse under stress like this. Even wealthy Europe is looking at measures to stabilize its economy and bolster mutual trust and burden-sharing.

The threat of Emerging Infectious Diseases, specifically Coronaviruses, was not unexpected. Transmission of Coronaviruses from animals to humans caused two epidemics, SARS in 2002 and MERS in 2012. Scientists warned of changing land use, changing food production, and contact with wild animals and their environment. 

Fishermen in Limbe, Cameroon. Photo by author


Politicians and officials, as well as tradition-bound consumers, ignored the advice as not being cost-effective, not popular, and not good for the economy. At the same time, economic demands destroyed localization in favor of just-in-time supply chains, wide-scale destruction of nature, and ecologic buffers to change. 

Money-driven policies resulted in health systems becoming business models, available only for the well-off. A crisis was needed to point out that those not treated become a source of infection, of loss of work, of loss of clients. Nationalism fails to take into account that diseases do not recognize passports.

A global response to the pandemic is the only way to rescue what has become a global economy and health system. We must learn that the strength of a society lies not in the glory of the strongest, but how the weakest are treated. The current economic development model must be re-thought.

Destruction of nature must stop because nature strikes back, always.

 

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on April 1, 2020 11:33

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Source: Al Jazeera

More than 200 people have died from COVID-19 including former heads of state since first case was confirmed in February.

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