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WHO pleads with youths to stop partying and flatten the curve

The World Health Organization (WHO) has pleaded with youths globally to stop partying so that the world can beat Covid-19 pandemic.

The appeal was made by the Health Emergencies Programme head Michael Ryan on Wednesday.

“Younger people also need to take on board that they have a responsibility,” said Ryan in an online discussion.

“Ask yourself the question: do I really need to go to that party?”

Government officials and health experts are now making desperate pleas for young people to stop partying and travelling, saying their restraint could save lives.

Young people are less likely to suffer a severe form of the respiratory disease than their parents or grandparents, but the proportion of those infected aged 15-24 has risen three-fold in about five months, WHO data shows.

Ryan said young people were often discreet in giving their details or disclosing friends’ names to contact tracers. “It’s tough but it is what is needed to stop the virus.”

Since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Kenya, dozens of youths have been arrested across the country partying in locked rooms in total disregard to Covid-19 containment rules.

The most high profile arrest involved the youthful Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja who in July pleaded guilty to breaching curfew orders when he was found at Ladies Lounge in Kilimani.

The charge sheet stated that Mr Sakaja, having not been listed on the schedule to the Public Order 2020 (State Curfew), was found drinking alcohol in contravention of the State’s curfew orders imposed to contain the virus. He was fined Sh15,000.

Majority of the young are unbothered and unafraid of the pandemic so they bend rules by moving social events to their houses, inside cars, parks, and other open spaces.

But as cases continue to rise in the country, there are more infections and even deaths among younger people, challenging the initial belief that they stood a better chance of beating Covid-19.

While young people may feel invincible because they are not getting severe symptoms, they are driving the surge of infections, which experts say is putting the vulnerable population at risk.

In June, the country recorded its first death of a young person, although the 33-year-old patient had kidney problems, which may have been a factor.

Since then, three more deaths in the younger age group have occurred, the major difference being that none of the patients had a pre-existing condition, causing jitters among health experts and scientists.

Five months into the war against the pandemic in Kenya, health officials are consistently imploring young people to wear masks and practise social distancing.

Data in a daily situation report from the Ministry of Health shows that younger adults are also getting Covid-19, with some requiring hospitalisation and even intensive care.

For example, the situation report shows, majority of the cases 9,865 (56 per cent) are in the age group of 20 and 39 years, with 4,010 (47 per cent) in the 20-29 group and 5,855 (65 per cent) in the 30-39 group.