By Benjamin King
It is important that while striving to ameliorate the pandemic situation, policy makers should ensure that policies support and improve the welfare of individuals in the country. Precaution should be a fundamental responsibility of every individual. Citizens ought to hold themselves to a higher standard of ensuring that they observe safety precautions to the letter. In retrospect, this clearly presents an important principle in an effective legal system. The authorities should set feasible and empowering policies and individuals in society should play their part in following the regulations. This is prerequisite to the creation of a harmonious society set for progress.
Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.”
If we citizens are to claim our rights then we also need to fulfil our obligations to society.
The absurd reality
Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, strategies to combat COVID-19 have been futile and even worse, a cloud of misconception has hovered over certain nations, passed down to the citizens by influential persons in the country for example the president.
On the extreme end are cases of countries where presidents blatantly refused to acknowledge the prevalence of Corona virus and further intentionally restrained from taking any necessary steps to alleviate the problem.
Amidst the global surge of the pandemic, Rosario Murillo, the Vice president of Nicaragua, scheduled for 14th March, 2020 a public walk themed “Love in the time of COVID-19” This, according to Rosario, was intended to be a gesture in solidarity with the countries affected by the corona virus.
“Tomorrow we will be walking with the force of faith and hope throughout the country, in solidarity with all the peoples, families and brothers and sisters of the entire world who are facing this pandemic. Love in times of the covid-19”, said Murillo.
This government-fuelled march was successfully held in Manaragua, Nicaruga on the set date. For obvious reasons, there was no social distancing, wearing of masks and neither was any other protective measure followed. It is worth noting the reluctant stand of Nicaragua’s top authorities regarding the pandemic was more or less maintained from the beginning as no remarkable step was taken towards alleviation. Regarding the response of Central American countries towards COVID-19, Nicaragua is an ‘island of exclusion’ 
In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was initially sceptical about the pandemic. In a video he posted on Facebook, on 22nd March, 2020,  he urged Mexicans to live life as usual, take their families out to restaurants as it would serve to strengthen the economy. Around the same time, videos of him hugging his supporters were broadcast, a misleading incident which appeared to despise the gravity of the prevailing situation. 
According to a group of research papers released at a Brookings Institution conference, as many as 400,000 of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S could have been avoided.  In addition to Trump’s reluctance to impose preventive measures, the situation in the U.S.A was worsened by his conspiracy theories about the disease, including the claim he made at his rally in October 2020 in Waukesha, Wisconsin that doctors in the U.S were earning a lot of money through COVID-19 and as a result, they were exaggerating the cases and death toll of the disease. 
On the other hand, in certain countries, governments have made efforts to impose COVID-19 guidelines and policies to decrease the rate of spread of the disease. However, these undertakings have proven futile as citizens have failed to follow them. In many of these countries, the general opinion is of “nonexistence of the pandemic, or at most, the pandemic is not as grave as it is made to appear.” Many nationals interpret government’s efforts as being motivated by its corrupt nature. Over time, citizens have lost trust in their government and tend to disregard any policies passed on to them by the government, including prevention policies.People freely walking on a street in Kampala, Uganda without masks as is the new norm, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Photograph: Benjamin King
The constrained revolution
Within a space of one year, the world has experienced a revolution in many sectors. This wave of change has re-defined the principles of operation in various spheres in synchronicity with the change in values and attitudes in many societies. The dramatic effects of COVID-19 spread across the world within a short time. First identified in December 2019 in Wuhan China, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be an on-going and worsening predicament in most parts of the world. So lethal a pandemic it is that as of 7 May 2021, more than 156 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 3.25 million deaths attributed to COVID-19, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in history. 
Equally prominent is the constrained revolution the globe has witnessed as a result of prevalence of the unanticipated circumstances. The pre-COVID and the COVID era are analogous to two antagonistic centuries, with directly opposite features. The well-intentioned alleviation strategies, however, have had significant unforeseen repercussions creating anguish in the lives of many people in addition to the primary effects of the disease. The workplace has been massively re-structured, incorporating unfavourable conditions and circumstances of work. Felix Richter reported that The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown caused 114 million people to lose their jobs over 2020. 
Operations of many sectors of the economy were rendered impossible in the new framework. Many essential service deliveries were halted by the globally temporarily requirement of reduction in numbers of people per gathering. A case in point is the significant unemployment witnessed in the education sector as multitudes of schools were momentarily closed down. Millions of school staff members consequently became unemployed, at least for some months, and were left with the only option of seeking other avenues of earning a living, in which many had limited knowledge of their new field. The lower proportion of the total working population that were retained at work suffered longer working hours and increased tasks some of which were out of their areas of specialisation. On the other hand, the product and service recipients suffered decline in standards of living and operation. Without sufficient guidance from their teachers and surety of direction, many students lost track of their studies, a situation which exacerbated the high prevalence of drop-out from school.
The evil of corruption prevailed in many countries during the lockdown period. Funds and materials meant for the benefit of entire communities were misappropriated by authorities for selfish gains. Nomsa Maseko reported on 2nd September, 2020 that “Corruption was “amplified” – that’s the term used by South Africa’s auditor general in his report on the misuse of funds which were aimed at mitigating the impact of coronavirus in the country. The allocated funds were meant to assist vulnerable households with food parcels, unemployment grants, support small business, farmers and to also procure personal protective equipment.” 
Scars from strategies
In Uganda, in a bid to reduce the chances of spread of COVID-19, the Ugandan government reduced the legal time spent by citizens outside their homes.
A curfew time was imposed, set at 9:00pm in the night beyond which a culprit caught by the ruthless policy enforcers—Local Defence Unit and military personnel—was prone to harsh treatment and physical harassment at their hands.
As at 7th May, 2021, the trail of police brutality in enforcing curfew rules is ongoing in Uganda and to survive the consequent events, the culprit is expected by many of the officers to provide a secret bribe. In a report by the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) in Uganda, it was stated that “access to justice involves access to legal representation / a lawyer of one’s choice, being produced before court within 48 hours. During the lockdown, arrested persons were detained whereas majority were not charged before courts of law, those that were charged it was in the absence of their lawyers since lawyers were not listed among the essential workers in the first month of the lock down violating Art. 28 on the right to a fair hearing.” 
Solution; Global cooperation
The World Health Organization advises that “Now more than ever, international cooperation and solidarity are vital to restoring global health security, now and for the future.” Owing to the fact that COVID-19 is a global pandemic, alleviation efforts ought to be made at a global level through cooperation among nations.
 Juan Carlos Bow; Rosario Murillo calls for a walk “Love in times of Covid-19
 Wilfredo Miranda; Nicaraguan ruler Ortega rolls out vaccination campaign amid secrecy and doubt https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/apr/05/nicaragua-daniel-ortega-vaccine-covid-rollout
 President Andrés Manuel López Obrador; Comida en el restaurante La Teca en Oaxaca https://m.facebook.com/watch/?v=214737003208063&_rdr
 Gino Spocchia; U.S could have avoided almost 400,000 Covid deaths with better response, report claims https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/us-covid-deaths-prevented-response-b1822564.html
 Doctors for Biden; twitter
 Wikipedia; https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic
 Felix Richter; COVID-19 has caused a huge amount of lost working hours https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/02/covidemployment-global-job-loss/
 Nomsa Maseko, BBC News, Johannesburg Coronavirus in South Africa: Misuse of Covid-19 funds ‘frightening’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-54000930
 National Association of Professional Environmentalists; A snapshot of human rights abuses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda. https://www.nape.or.ug/publications/other-publications/100-a-snapshot-of-human-rights-abuses-amidst-the-covid-19-pandemic-in-uganda/file
 World Health Organization; Making the response to COVID-19 a public common good-Solidarity Call to Action