Home Columns Face to face with COVID-19, a scribes encounter

Face to face with COVID-19, a scribes encounter

Tiri Masawi

The current state of Covid-19 which has left more than 200 000 people dead worldwide and 2.5 million infected has been a lot of things to a lot of people.
Since an outbreak was announced in the city of Wuhan in China in December last year, different aspersions have been cast about the detrimental effects of the virus on poor communities and the vulnerable. However, the reality is this virus is a monster that threatens our humanity and should be met with decisive action it deserves.

As a journalist, I probably found it imperative to read more about this destructive pandemic which has put the whole world in a complete shutdown and left a serious trail of destruction on the aviation, mining, tourism industries and forced many governments in the world to lock down their economies and close borders.
While the better part of December to February my farfetched encounter on this virus has been regular updates from international news agencies and broadcasters it didn’t take long before reality hit closer to home.

Namibia announced its first case of COVID-19, the same happened in South Africa and the pandemic engulfed the rest of the Southern African region and it was only a matter of time before me and may others in the pen-pushing business realised that we will be joining the rest of the world in educating our different audiences about the importance of social distancing, and hygiene.
I have written a lot of stories for local, regional and international audiences since Namibia announced the first case, perhaps in my scribing experience is how Namibia arguably one of the smallest countries in the continent in terms population size has done tremendously well in containing the spread of the virus.

My hunch without evidence is that Namibia is doing a rather commendable job sensitising its populace, testing as well as dissemination of important information to its citizenry compared to fellow folk in the SADC region.
Tough lessons as we go
The past months have been rather interesting for many journalists like me in Namibia in the sense that it is not every day that we get to cover pandemics of such gigantic proportions.
The lot in my trade has come face to face with the importance of opening our mins to learning new tricks every day.

Never have we at once thought health reporting can be this interesting and challenging at the same time. It has become a routine that our mindsets have been programmed for the absorption of loads of information on a daily basis at 10 AM and 4 PM every day when government host the daily press briefings.

These times slots have somewhat become the most important daily slots to the many in the same trade as I am at least for as far as my imagination goes.
Within this short space of time which rarely constitutes a significant time in my 13 years in the media have taught me a lot.
I have upped my acumen for detail on important issues such as heath and I have seen the inquisitive part of me come out more often than not.
Perhaps it has been a wakeup call to many scribes like me that pandemics are not only deadly to the well-being of our societies but have far-reaching implications on the livelihoods of many, journalist included.

Reality strikes when you least expect.
While we all went through our daily routines and continue to make sure we do our bit in informing and educating those that consume media products, Namibia reached its 16 cases of COVID-19.
Well without any prizes for guessing, this meant intensifying testing to cover community tracking as well as widening the lockdown countrywide to cover all the four corners of the country.

President Hage Geingob did not take long to put these measures in place and we were all in awe as reality was unfolding, perhaps faster than we thought.

Within this period the Ministry health announced the resumption of public testing and primarily targeting high exposed industries like media, mining and fisheries. It was after this I took a difficult but rather important decision to get tested on April 22.

Other than this day I have had to access information through asking authorities on a daily basis but well there is never a better lesson in information dissemination than going through the experience.

Just like that, I and many others in the same trade had our testing day at Robert Mugabe clinic which I must admit has gone through a serious transformation reminiscent of Government’s efforts in winning the war against this pandemic.
Of course, I cannot hide my phobia which was soon confirmed during the test.
I will be frank the testing process is no child’s lay and is nowhere near the word comfort but well it has to be done.

I told myself any result that comes I was going to continue documenting my journey ad swinging my pen to educate and sensitise more. After being tested I had an agonising two-day wait which I must admit was tougher than waiting for the day of a heavyweight championship match for anyone who trades leather.
Eventually, I tested negative for COVID 19.
The results came through an uncharacteristic phone call in the comfort of the night from a doctor who conducted my test and of course for her professional sake, I shall not reveal.
Just as promised I will continue fighting my battle with the pen and urge many to go through the same test and know where they stand and of-course to my fellow scribe my advice is experience is the best teacher.

Get tested. Stay safe, sanitise and wash your hands COVID-19 is real.it is a disease that affects everyone be it artists, president’s, ordinary folk, rich and poor.


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