CAS decries mass sneaking of residents from high-risk restricted areas
Irene Githinji @gitshee
The government yesterday raised concerns over the movement of people from Nairobi’s Eastleigh and Mombasa’s Old Town areas which were sealed off on Wednesday after they emerged as the epicentres of coronavirus pandemic.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr Rashid Aman decried what he described as ‘mass sneaking’ of residents from the high-risk and restricted areas, warning that it could fuel spread of the virus.
“Let me caution that this move is counter productive and dangerous. If you happen to be unknowingly sick and you move to another area, what you are doing is promoting the spread of the disease,” Aman said.
On Wednesday, the government was forced to seal off Eastleigh and Old Town after the two areas registered an alarming number of cases in the last week bringing the totally tally in the two areas to 75 and 71 respectively by yesterday.
The CAS urged Kenyans not to accommodate people coming from the sealed off areas, warning that by doing so they would risk their lives.
“I am appealing to those neighbouring communities that may have relatives within the earmarked areas to know that they are putting themselves at risk and we want them to desist from that.
With a silent disease like this, one can be a carrier without knowing, spreading it should be on your conscience,” said Aman during the daily update on the status of coronavirus disease.
“Those from Eastleigh and Old Town are asked to remain in there because there you will be tested and there are health workers in there, in case of any symptoms you can call them and we will know what course of action to take,” he added.
Aman’s caution came even as the number of the coronavirus cases rose to 607 after 25 new infections were confirmed yesterday.
The new samples were confirmed from 632 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
Out of 25 new cases, 17 were from Nairobi, two from Wajir and Kajiado each while Mombasa, Migori, Isiolo and Nakuru had one case each.
Three other cases were detected from Ugandan, Tanzanian and Chinese nationals respectively.
Isiolo becomes the latest county to have a confirmed case, taking the total number of counties affected with coronavirus to 18.
Out of the 17 cases in Nairobi, Eastleigh had the highest with a total of nine, Kawangware and Parklands had two cases each, Riruta, South C, Umoja and Juja Road had one case each.
The one case in Mombasa was reported in Likoni while that of Nakuru was in Solai.
The CAS said there were seven more recoveries, bringing the total number to 197 but three more deaths were recorded–two in Nairobi and 1 in Mombasa-the number now standing at 29.
“We are urging residents of Eastleigh and Old Town to strictly adhere to the measures we have outlined and the guidelines meant to mitigate against the disease.
We are appealing to Kenyans to report to authorities any persons who recently moved into their neighbourhoods. We should be our brother’s keeper,” said Aman.
He regretted that people were still reluctant to present themselves for testing, despite assurance that the cost of testing and quarantine will be catered for by the government and urged more people to come forth.
He reiterated that all cross-border truck drivers were required to be tested at the point of origin of their journey and obtain a certificate showing they were coronavirus free.
There will be reciprocal arrangements between Kenya-Tanzania and Kenya-Uganda, he said.
The CAS also said the government had made elaborate plans to evacuate Kenyans who had travelled to India for treatment and were expected into the country yesterday evening.
Ministry of Health officials were expected to facilitate their arrival and subsequent self-quarantine at home.
On Wednesday, government imposed a 15-day cessation of movement directive to Eastleigh and Old Town.