In retrospect thinking on the spread of COVID-19 that has climaxed to over 2.6 million index case, 185,000 death toll with 720,000 recovered case worldwide, a webinar meeting was conveyed by members of Netlink Environmental Conservation Organization, Environmental Conservation Club and Environmental Conservation Volunteer ECV on Tuesday 21st of April, 2020 at 12:00pm UTC.
Emphasis was placed on the restriction order being enforced across some countries as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19. While some members acknowledged that this measure is effective in some countries, others opined that this has began to impact social and economic lives of the people, especially in developing countries. The participants expressed that the socio-economic impact of the restriction seems to create unbearable hardship on the populace. Viewing this from the Africa background, the restriction order has largely and gradually eroded the culture of the people epitomized by socializing, visitation, town hall meeting etc. The number of reported death as a result of violence that erupted between the populace and law enforcement in maintaining social distancing and restriction on public gatherings is outrageous. Ann Waithera, a Human Resource expert from Kenya, expressed fear that if the pandemic should continue with attendant lockdown order, certain pressure could be placed on the community such as increasing unemployment rate, downsizing, cut in wages and salaries to mention a few. We have seen some of these in several developed countries. There are possibilities that the World might experience economic recession. For instance, in USA 4.4 million people have filed jobless claims making a total of 26.4 million within a period of 5 weeks. This unprecedented rising unemployment rate in USA has wiped out 10 years’ job in 5 weeks. This situation might have been worse in some countries in Africa especially where unemployment is prevalent.
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The dwindling oil price at the global market will definitely have ripple effect in a monolithic structured economy that depend solely on oil as a major source of revenue.
The participants agreed that there is a need to fashion a flexible approach that will compensate for social cohesion, interaction and booming economic activities.
To this end, the participants have proposed alternative to the restriction order including
Organized short time paramilitary training on crisis, grievance and conflict redress mechanism.
War against COVID-19 should be addressed in environmental perspective hence environmental experts should be deployed to complement the efforts of the public health personnel in disseminating environmental education rather than enforcement through arms of gun, ammunition and batteries.
Similarly, conservationists should work hand in hand with medical experts considered the fact that COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease.
Diversification of the economy with priority on developing agricultural sector for food security should be intensified.
COVID-19 Test especially at the community and institution levels should be reinforced.
The meeting came to a close with the hope to re-convey next week. Green regards