Kisumu Covid cases soar ahead of Madaraka event

Friday, May 21st, 2021 00:00 |
Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho (second right) with other government officials inspect construction works at the Jomo Kenyatta International Sports Centre in Kisumu ahead of Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1. Photo/PD/Viola Kosome

Preparations to host this year’s Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu county have gained momentum amid concerns over a spike in Covid-19 cases in the county.

Kisumu has recorded a surge in virus cases in recent days, with the number of positive cases in the county standing at 3,532 cases as of yesterday after testing 34,317 people, the highest in the country.

Data from Kisumu county government shows the county has recorded 94 deaths from the disease since March last year.

Reports indicate that hospitals in the lakeside county are struggling with the surging Covid infections.

In Busia county, concerns have also been raised over low uptake of Covid-19 vaccine especially among health workers, teachers and the elderly.

Busia county Covid-19 coordinator Dr David Mukabi said the groups have declined to take Covid-19 jabs because “it originated from India, where patients are dying  in their thousands due to the disease.” Mukabi said residents suspect the vaccines are not genuine.

Containment measures

Yesterday, government officials were rushing against time to put in place necessary logistics to ensure  the event is successful.

The National Celebrations Committee chaired by Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho confirmed that plans to host the event in Kisumu are almost complete saying the celebrations shall be marked in strict adherence to the Ministry of Health protocols on the containment of Covid-19.

Consequently, he said limited number of guests will be allowed entry into the venue while the rest will watch live streaming of the event.

The national celebrations will be held at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium, whose construction is nearly complete.

On the general attendance, the PS said 3,000 guests shall be hosted in the stadium while additional 20,000 people will follow the semi-virtual celebrations from two other grounds in the vicinity.

“We have put in place arrangements to live stream the celebrations to Kisumu residents.

The event will also be aired on national television for the rest of the country,” Kibicho said during a press briefing after leading the a delegation of government officials in an inspection tour of the venue on Wednesday evening. He confirmed that the new sports facility will be ready by June 1.

Kibicho revealed that his committee was satisfied with the ongoing preparations to  host the event in the lakeside city, noting that the team expects all arrangements to be in place by May 30 when rehearsal will be conducted.

 “As a committee mandated with ensuring success of national celebrations, we are satisfied that the preparations are well on course and this will enable us to deliver a colourful and a memorable Madaraka Day here in Kisumu,” he said.

Kibicho was accompanied by his counterparts; Jerome Ochieng (ICT), Joe Okudo (Sports) and Gordon Kihalangwa (Public works).

President Uhuru Kenyatta will lead the nation in marking the 2021 Madaraka Day celebration in Kisumu for the first time since the government began hosting the national celebrations in counties. Last year, the event was held in Kisii county.

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