By Faith Gikunda
Gakoromone Market in Meru town is in chaos. The bubbly middle aged guy who has been selling cheap but quality masks in the streets has just been checked into quarantine after he was suspected to have been exposed to the COVID 19 Virus.
He was picked a few days in what seemed to be a ninja scene from the movies. When he got wind of the planned invasion, he attempted to run away but his lucky star was not on his side. The COVID 19 Response team overpowered him.
Having been asymptomatic, John the mask seller has been going on with his business since late March, 2020 when the Kenyan Government made it mandatory for every citizen to wear a mask. Having lost his job in a nightclub as a waiter, he swung into action and saw the new mask rule as a business window to get some income to sustain his heavily expectant wife and their 4-year-old son. Little did he know that what seemed like an amazing opportunity to make money, would become a nightmare to his pregnant wife, son, neighbours and the entire population of Mutindwa town.
In the haste to make money, he forgot to follow the basic safety guidelines that had been laid down by the World Health Organization and effected in Kenya by the Ministry of Health. Ironically, on many occasions he forgot to wear his mask properly exposing himself to the unsuspected COVID 19 patients. He rarely washed or sanitized his hands. He continued to eat in the kiosks interacting with tens of people. However, the greatest risk was posed to the innocent and little knowledgeable customers who purchased the masks and wore them without the slightest care of washing them. They were anxious to beat the restrictions by supermarkets that required everyone entering their premises to wear a mask. They were anxious to escape the police nest and the KES. 20,000 fine. They did all these and forgot that the mask was not an accessory for fooling the police or the supermarket attendants but it was protective gear meant to protect them from the deadly and extremely contagious Corona Virus – the contagion.
John the mask seller on his part continued to engage in his normal lifestyle and forgot the famous quote “If you treat COVID 19 normally it will treat you abnormally”. The abnormal phase had checked in when least expected. With tens of contacts in line, the most affected are his close friends and close business associates. Something has to be done urgently. Every person that had contact with John the mask seller has to be traced to avert a catastrophe. The first people to be nabbed are fifteen of John’s associates with whom he has been playing pool with in some hidden backdoor joint. In the ensuing melee, one of the friends manages to escape from the response vehicleand what follows is an helter skelter craze to salvage the already dire situation.
Will the Meru COVID 19 Response Team manage to nab the contact who has escaped from their net?
How many people has John come into contact with?
How long has he been infected with the Corona Virus?
How does the wife and child react to the unfolding situation?
What’s the public’s reaction to these happenings?
The plot unfolds…
Ministry of Health advisory: Wear masks all the time, wash your hands frequently, sanitize and stay at home.