A World of Space
Human beings definitely acquire residences for shelter, prestige and investment purposes. They are semi-permanent and permanent structures protecting lives from dangers of nature. In this age of technology, they may favourably present themselves as remote workplaces. The rest compel their occupants to get out of their houses to search for an income. All these persons interact to fulfill their common needs. Covid-19 pandemic caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV-2) has lead to the introduction of social distancing as it’s preventive measure as prescribed by the Ministry of Health in Kenya and World Health Organization (WHO). This behaviour of keeping social distance from each other has transformed the world into a world of space. A world of space is a world where each person is given enough space to attain a higher quality of life.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention defines social distancing as the act of avoiding mass gatherings and keeping distance between persons. Measures adopted for achievement of social distancing are school and workplaces closures, travel restrictions, isolation, quarantine, shielding, floor markings, stay-at-home order, curfews, cancellation of events, reduction of crowding in hospitals, restriction of public gatherings and supervision of burials among others. This preventive measure prevents the transmission of Covid-19, especially transmission through direct and droplets contacts. Droplets contacts are prevented by decreasing chances of droplets from a cough or sneeze reaching a person and effecting a Covid-19 transmission.
The fear of getting a disease such as Covid-19 when informed of its spread ensures social distancing principle is followed. The individual resident, commuter or labourer is encouraged to offer space to their peers thus creating a world of space. In Kenya, a person should maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres from another person. According to Wikipedia, social distances vary widely, with the distances of 1, 1.5 and 2 metres in France and Italy, Australia and The US and UK respectively. These distances contribute to transforming crowded places to a spaced up world.
Control of Crowded Places
The WHO has tried to advice people to abstain from crowded places. Kenyan police forces have arrested persons defying social distancing rules. The suspects are quarantined and later charged of these offences. China, US and most countries around the world have adopted policies such as restricting movement of persons from most affected areas and banning of international and national air travel. The action by governments for adoption of guidelines of international institutions has contributed to emergence of a world of space. Lack of crowds in airports, public spaces and in other popular places has provided each person enough space at any single time.
Densely Populated Areas and Social Distancing
Existence of buildings are not affected by social distancing directly as it involves people. On the other hand, densely populated settlements negatively affect social distancing. Predictions by Somik Lall and Sameh Wahba of World Bank on potential hotspots of Covid-19 revealed the percentage of population at risk in Mumbai as 20%, Cairo as 25% and Kinshasa as 84%. This was the population that may be highly likely not to practice social distancing due to high population density coupled with low floor area and limited access to services. Mobility to access services consideration
further raised the forecasted percentage of the vulnerable population.
Despite of the presence of densely populated urban areas whose most of its inhabitants were able to stay at home, arguably with buildings having large floor area, there exist similarly populated neighbourhoods where social distance may be hard to keep. The slums and informal settlements of low-income earners require slum upgrade and housing improvements by their governments to prevent congestion that promotes disease outbreaks and insecurity. These important policies when implemented would drive the world, including least developed countries, to a world of space.
This illustrates that the world is a world of space.
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