A few months back, when Covid-19 was still a conundrum, and countries around the world began emerging from the first general lockdowns, experts warned that the fight is far from over, and that we are facing a new era, one of living alongside the virus. A lot has changed since then; Medical teams know more about treatments and dealing with the virus, and the general public is more aware of the vast dangers it holds, and the importance of keeping restrictions and guidelines.
Today, social distancing, surgical masks, and personal hygiene are helping to control the spread of the virus, delaying new restrictions and lockdowns as much as possible. But it is becoming more evident that another wave is already here and that a new lockdown is right around the corner.
In various countries around the world new outbreaks have been menacing the public, and patient numbers are dangerously skyrocketing. Countries have already begun to take new drastic measures including partial or full lockdowns, closing entire economies and regions yet again.
A few necessary measures
When the last lockdown was over I wrote here that we all have to do everything in our power to get ready for the next time. Now, as another lockdown seems like a possible (and even plausible) option, we all must think and act tirelessly to get as ready as possible.
Here are some guidelines that should be addressed today:
Improving the healthcare sector in remote communities. Africa’s health sector is vastly underdeveloped, with hundreds of millions living without access to proper medical treatment. We must take extreme measures not only in the big hospitals or while enlarging the ventilator supply, but in initial, basic care in remote areas. Ignite is now providing remote clinics with “designed-for- solar” medical equipment, allowing for much better diagnosis and treatment in the most sustainable and affordable way possible. Only by improving infrastructure in these underserved communities, we could stop a wide spread of the virus.
Improving internet access. In case of a lockdown, millions of employees won’t be able to reach the office, staying home facing 2 options: working remotely, or unpaid leave. Without an internet connection, working remotely is not an option; Improving internet infrastructure will enable remote work for millions, keeping the economy afloat, while companies will be able to continue operating. In addition to the employees, without access to official guidelines, entire remote communities are left without the ability to follow basic guidelines that are supposed to keep them safe and healthy. Internet access is crucial for the health of hundreds of millions.
Computers and TVs for everyone. A lockdown means millions of children at home, prevented from going to school and receiving a proper education. In the last lockdown, many countries began broadcasting educational materials for children, enabling some form of education. But for millions without TV access it was not enough, and entire remote communities are left behind, making the education and economic gap even wider. To that end, Ignite is now collaborating with Tele10 group to provide remote communities with solar-based TVs and high-quality content via inclusive PAYGO models. With off-grid solar-based TVs, education and entertainment are made available for the most remote communities.
Adapting operations: the last crisis caught the entire private sector with its guards down. This time is different, as companies and businesses can get ready in advance and adjust their operations; Adjustments for remote working and for keeping official guidelines will go a long way in keeping companies and the entire economy afloat.
I am hopeful that a new outbreak and a general lockdown are not in our cards. But I am also a realist, and paying close attention to global events is making it evident that the next weeks are crucial. We all need to make great efforts and get ready for the next hit. Only in this way we can not only survive the lockdown, but take it as an opportunity for growth and positive impact.
By Yariv Cohen, Angaza Partner. Published on The New Times