1. Criminalization of transmission is not feasible. Whether in contract tracing, proving intent and in pinpointing the point of infection. It would cause panic, target those most poor and further burden state resources in the judiciary, criminal justice system, testing labs and health facilities. It would incite stigma and discrimination, aggravate systemic racism and force people to hide. Even more challenging would be those who are asymptomatic and without reason to take precaution or easily adopt health seeking behaviour. Why should countries continue to criminalise HIV, same-sex intercourse or sex work?
  2. Costs of testing and treatment would have the same impact as above. Except that most would wait till the worst of moments to seek assistance. The best service and care would be reserved for the elite and connected. There would be inconsistent levels of quality and standards. It would result in an unregulated, unsafe black market with backdoor or informal services. These would thrive in an era of misinformation and fake news.
  3. Stigma and discrimination would be aggravated against the most vulnerable or easily politicized groups. The general public and/or those who are asymptomatic would not take necessary precautions and would consistently question science and health experts. Vulnerable groups would further hide or keep away from society, even when ill. Jokes, memes and invalidating comments would dominate social media – further removing urgency and importance of much needed precautions and safety measures to curb the virus.
  4. Precautions should always be considered for all other demographics, with equitable interventions and considerations for gender, indigenous, disability and other vulnerable groups. These have illuminated inequalities that have not been included in precautions against the virus (UNFPA, 2020). The media continues to play a role in flagging developments, inequalities, and updates on the virus.
  5. Decolonizing existing knowledge and/or norms to mitigate fears and disinformation on the virus. There are no vaccines or predicable variables that can be managed. All we have are precautions and dignity in caring for each other. Data is insufficient and variables are too many(Madhav, 2016). Thus, we have to be conscious of harmful gender norms, mindful of the added burdens of care work and the mental health toll everyone has to endure.
  6. Community health systems are important. Tacit and innate knowledge of vulnerabilities and daily experiences are invaluable to safeguarding precautions and factoring in socio-behavioral change. These are lessons we should continue to learn and adapt from other pandemics (Tralac, 2020).
  7. Non-prescriptive resourcing. Flexible resourcing remains institutionally racist and mitigating. It might allude to allowing for some enabling and agility in activities, but it remains prescriptive of civil society activities, creativity and responding to emergent needs. For example, diverting travel funds to emergency food parcel financing does not negate the risk of responding to rape, arbitrary arrests or penalties aggravating poverty. Civil society is then limited in mandate and effectiveness because a donor wanted to the future predicted. No assumptions or plans are guaranteed. Only approaches and methods of serving can be designed for scaling and securing impact.
  8. The above is critical for understanding and responding to social determinants, i.e. a person and their medication are safe enough for prescribed consumption. That nutritious support, working conditions, rest and living without fear are cared for and considered.
  9. Stable, inclusive and sound regulatory framework. States of emergency and lockdown regulations were skewed against the poor. Political will should be conscious of not having all the answers and ensuring that communities are well represented. Having a figure from the community is not enough. Engagement, responsiveness, feedback loops and consciousness of proximity to privilege should reflect themselves in decision and policy making. Procurement should not exist without anti-corruption mechanisms, neither should it secure assets without securing required skills, provisions for maintenance and appropriate communication response mechanisms.
  10. Targeting info-demics, mistrust and misinformation. Social media, technological advancements, opportunistic fraud and uncertainty cannot be prevented or controlled without infringing on digital and privacy rights (Colomina, 2020). Appropriate crisis management, social beahvorial commutation and transparency in decision making mitigate fake news, stigma, and discrimination. Building trust in science should be systemic, collaborative beyond health framing, and accommodative of the above challenges.
  11. Putting the last mile forward. Targeting the most vulnerable and marginalized accommodates and considers the entire population. The response builds in precautions, tools and infrastructure that can respond to community circumstances, behavorial variances and continuous improvement. It upholds constitutional rights and ensures dignity for all. It ensures a response that is equitable of all stakeholders (Dube, 2020).
  12. Assumptions that enablers and implementers are immune from the virus have ignored intersectional approaches to prevention and mitigation efforts. Broadening responses such as contact tracing, community testing, communications and feedback loops outside bureaucratic systems ensures universality and kaizen learning. It makes progress towards improving and strengthening universal health systems(Taylor, 2020).
  13. Multi-stakeholder cooperation and collaboration at domestic level is just as important as at sub-regional and international levels. Neighbouring country progress or lack thereof, impacts domestic response mechanisms. Gaps in border control, immigration, quality service points at district level and economic trade conditions provide insight into how interdependent countries, economies, politics and sectors are. The infrastructure already exists within multinational corporations, multilateral agreements, development partners and cooperation frameworks (World Health Organisation, 2020). Leveraging these beyond their mandate, in the least for information sharing and solutions building beyond the health response would stimulate concerted and improved responses.
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