Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Partial lockdown?

Although a number of countries have already implemented it, our country has still yet to enforce it – The lockdown. As far I understand it, a complete lockdown means a strict implementation of the stay-at-home policy. One cannot leave their home unless it is to buy essential items such as food and medication, and of course also to go to the hospital in case of illness. The thing with complete lockdown is that it is really difficult to implement, in my view. For instance, those who work in “essential” organizations such as food stores, drug stores, drug and food factories, transporters, etc., cannot implement the lockdown policy. And for countries such as ours where the e-banking system is at a very infant stage, banks should remain open as well. And of course, people working at the Telecom, Water authority and Electric company cannot stay at home either. And if the lockdown persists for a longer period, banks will not be able to sustain themselves from profit reserves if they are not able to earn interest rates from lending. And for lending to happen, we need to have companies that take loans and continue operating. The irony is that these companies cannot operate unless there are customers out there to buy their products and services. And these customers are unable to buy goods and services because they are forced to stay at home as a result of the lockdown. What an ideal situation it would be if each and every single individual in a country (and the world) was able to stay at home completely without putting a strain on the economy?

The tricky thing about the virus is that, as long as there is a single individual out there with the virus, and especially if this individual has symptoms that went unnoticed, limiting the spread of the virus is really going to be challenging. And even trickier is the fact that this single individual has the potential of infecting the entire world, as we live in a pretty much interconnected world. In a way, the virus has made the world interconnected more than ever. Only a global effort is able to curb the spread of the virus. No single country can do it on its own. In our case for instance, as long as the spread of the virus is not controlled in Dubai, a country where it seems many of our infection cases come from, much cannot be done here in Ethiopia. For me, banning selected flights does not make sense. If Ethiopian Airlines bans travels from Dubai by letting people from other countries fly in, people who have a history of travel in Dubai may very well travel to a country from which people are allowed to coming in and then enter Ethiopia.

I wonder, why doesn’t Ethiopian airlines completely ban all of its incoming and outgoing passenger flights? We heard that it has reduced its international flights by 90 percent. But there is still the 10 percent that is causing infections in the country! Now that Addis Ababa has become the hub for the distribution of medical and safety items for the whole of Africa thanks to the cargo capacity of the Ethiopian Airlines, I think it should consider stopping 100 percent of its passenger flights! After all, almost all of the infections in the country are caused thanks to the Ethiopian Airlines continuing to provide its passenger flight services!

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Lockdown should mean 100 percent lockdown. Otherwise, the virus will continue to spread. The practicability of it is questionable, of course. But what other means is there to stop the madness, unless of course vaccines or medication that fully treats the infection is created? I’m just saying, there is no such thing as partial lockdown.

Contributed by Tsion Taye


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