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25.04.2020 Kenya

Fears Of Total Lockdown Looms Major Towns With Highest COVID-19 Cases In Kenya

By Joseph Jirah
Fears Of Total Lockdown Looms Major Towns With Highest COVID-19 Cases In Kenya
LISTEN APR 25, 2020

Kenya's living in major cities in the countries are living in fears of a total lockdown following the daily surging numbers of corona virus pandemic that has had dire effects globally.

Counties of Nairobi, tourism hub Mombasa, kilifi and Kwale are currently under movement cessation after recording more cases of covid 19.

Currently Nairobi County is leading with more cases followed by Mombasa County; locals are in fears of a possible total lockdown as government put more strict measure to curb further spread of the deadly virus.

Alexander Nguma a resident of Nyali area of Mombasa which is among affected areas, he says imported cases of infection in to the country has brought about this disaster and his life in the society has changed drastically as he struggles to make ends meet every day.

He says he is aware that the virus moves within people he interacts with every day which is very dangerous as the disease is invisible unless someone get tested.

“this disease is a threat to our lives, if only the government can follow up identify those people who traveled into the country for the past three months, test them and isolate them together with there family that's could really help, we are on a dusk to dawn curfew but that's seem not to be successful because we work during the day and we are not sure if the take the virus home during night hours, we are not safe at all.' Said Alexander.

He said government's directives of compulsory wearing facemasks and keeping one meter social distance is effective but few individuals violating it could be the reason of the surging cases, which could make government impose a total lockdown into the county.

“I think those officials tasked to carry out testing are lagging behind, we have not seen them in this area as it was announced with more cases, if the lockdown is announced we don't know what to do, we have families depend on us, we have house rent to pay, where will we get the money,” he added.

Bernard Luwali a motorcycle rider, a business famously known as bodaboda in Kenya, says he no longer gets more passengers as usual due to fears of contracting the virus.

Bernard said if government will reach a point of imposing a total lockdown in the county, then it should also put up strategies of distributing relief food to the needy families first.

“I will not oppose a total lockdown even if it is for four months, but government should give us enough food, we are no longer afraid of corona virus but what we fear most is hunger, our business is affected, we don't get much money like before.'' Said Bernerd.

Government has started mass testing in targeted areas including at the Kenya ports authorities in Mombasa, where results shows 24 staff infected with the disease, and as from 23rd April Mombasa county had 79 positive cases, Kenya's capital Nairobi with 207.

Bernard says, there are likelihood that some of the workers at the Mombasa port which is now the countries covid 19 hot spot, could have aided in spread of the disease before actions were taken.

“we suspect those truck drivers working at the Kenya port authority to be spreading this disease, some of them are staying within us and we are even afraid of getting close and socialize with them, some were chased away when were chewing khart at a certain shop nearby,'' added Bernard.

But as the number of infection in the count rose, spotlight has been cast in the tourism hub city of Mombasa as Mombasa county governor Ali Hassan Joho called on the government to impose more stringiest measures to contain the spread of the virus that is seen to endanger more lives of locals is actions not take on time.

“it is high time we need to discus lockdown, there is no two ways, people are complaining about economic challenges but am worried on matters of health, we will not be able to recover my friend, you can renegotiate you loan terms, your mortgage terms, and everybody in the world understand the situation today, but we need you to be alive and well, to be able to come back to life and work for what you have lost over a short period of time,'' said governor Joho.

Kenya's interior principal secretary Karanja Kibicho outlined heavier penalty for the affected areas if residents continue flouting government directives stipulated to curb corona virus pandemic.

He further said the directives set by president Uhuru Kenyatta on cessation of movement and curfew were being closely monitored and government was particularly concerned about how big number of people blatantly breaking rules.

“we are mapping out hotspots estates where we are thinking of imposing total lockdown so that we isolate them from areas where the situation is not bad, if we continue to behave recklessly as it has been the case in the last two weeks the government will have no option but to ban all movements in the affected areas” he said Kibicho.

The cessation of movement within counties most affected with the disease and dusk to dawn curfew imposed by government, has been crippled with a lot of challenges as locals say some police officers have been receiving bribes from residents so as to allow then cross over to other counties thus aid in the spread of the virus.

Mombasa county commander Gilbert Kitiyo said locals have been using shortcuts and endangering their lives but more measures will work to contain this disease.

“the curfew we are seeing or the cessation of movement which is in place is not a security one, the security one you can afford by sneaking, but this one of a pandemic you will be endangering yourself, your family and everybody else, that's why we must take it up on our selves that we should not allow afew people to jeopardize our health,'' Said Kitiyo.

Julius Musyimi a health officer at North shore medical center in Mombasa Kenya, said there is a big challenge from locals who are not adhering to ministry of health directives such as maintaining personal hygiene, keeping one meter social distance and wearing of face mask, thus aid in spread of covid 19.

Musyimi further warned on the misinformation from the public that the disease can be treated by locally, which he says is very dangerous.

“the public need to understand that government advisories are done by professionals and people who have gone through the systems to advice the masses, and when they give out the advisories it's important people adhere to these advisories, especially when they say you stay at home, you stay at home and stay safe, some of the information spread in the social media about treatment is misleading,'' said doctor Julius.

For now locals are waiting to see if government will announce other tough measures to curb spread of the disease as positive cases keep on rising daily in the country and for those flouting government directives are for now put on 14 days mandatory quarantine at their own cost if nabbed on the wrong side.

Up to 25th April Kenya had recorded 336 corona virus cases, 14 deaths and 94 cases of recoveries.

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