Ways of Applying the Physical Distancing Rule During this Pandemic
As humans and as Africans, we have been used to having close contact with our friends, families, professional colleagues, church members, social group members, and clients. We inspect everything closely before we make decisions or give our approvals. We feel things with our hands to confirm their Genuity before we purchase them. We taste things with our mouth to ascertain how good they are before we hold a claim to it. We pledge our loyalty by attending functions organized by our mentors and helpers. But all of these have changed with the outbreak of this pandemic. Many, have not yet adjusted to the new ways of doing things and still consider it disrespectful partly because they still doubting Thomases, or they have not seen any firsthand case infected by the coronavirus. In all of this, the need for physical distancing is what is advocated all over the world and cannot be overemphasized at this point in time.
Physical distancing simply means avoiding close contact with people. In Ibo, it is referred to as “inye oghere,” the Yorubas call it “fifunni ni aye ni akojopo,” and the Hausas call it “nissan ta jamaa.” This is one way of staying safe during this pandemic period because, everyone should be considered as a possible suspect and in the event, anyone close to them is identified, there would be palpable fear that they might have also been infected except proven otherwise by the appropriate and authorized diagnostic tests. It is, therefore, important that we reduce our physical contacts as far as possible to reduce the anxiety that comes with this suspicion.
Akinmutola Abayomi is a clinical pharmacist, a social commentator and a content creator based in Nigeria.