Villages that have reported coronavirus cases
The coronavirus pandemic has made its way into the densely populated villages beyond the Nairobi metropolis that was sealed off following failure by Kenyans, especially the middle-class, to observe government guidelines to stop spread of the disease.
Figures and analysis released by the Ministry of Health yesterday painted an ominous picture, after it emerged that apart from spreading to villages and modest settlements in Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos and Kajiado counties, the virus has hit rural areas, having been confirmed in Murang’a county.
Apart from the capital city and the so-called front line counties, there was also bad news from the Coast after Mombasa registered its biggest number of victims in a single day, accounting for seven of the 11 new cases announced by Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe in the 24 hours leading to yesterday.
Kagwe, who in his daily briefings has continually warned that Kenyans’ attitude and stubbornness could cost the country dearly, described the disease that had by last evening affected 281 people, as “something in your neighbourhood.”
“Today, I want to make a special appeal to the people in the counties of Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu and Murang’a.
As Nairobi Metropolitan counties, you have a special responsibility to guard against the spread of coronavirus from Nairobi county.
Already, a number of your residents have contracted the virus, and we have isolated them for treatment,” Kagwe said.
“We are talking about people just going round without wearing masks. These are the results that we are getting from these shortfalls,” the CS added.
Crafty Kenyans have devised ways to beat State regulations on the ban of movement in and out of the metropolis, including faking funerals as well as holding in-house drinking parties against social gathering warnings, frustrating government efforts to contain the virus spread.
Kagwe said a case had been reported in Ting’ang’a village, a rural area in Kiambu that is out of the Nairobi metropolis, but where some residents, who have been accusing the government of being insensitive by locking them out of the metropolis, have refused to adhere to health protocols.
Kiambu, where dozens of people have been nabbed having locked themselves in clubs and holding drinking parties, has also recorded a case in Thindigua, a fast-growing residential suburb on Kiambu road, which hosts thousands of middle-class occupants.
Other cases were confirmed in the densely-populated Githurai 45, raising concerns over the safety of the habitats, while Waithaka in Kikuyu, Ndongoru in Kabete as well as Watalamu in Ruiru sub-county, which are typical villages and where residents have been faulting government’s directives, recorded cases.
Despite Murang’a having blocked the entry and exit of people from Nairobi over a fortnight ago, two cases have been reported in Gatanga and Lumumba Drive, highlighting the possibility of the virus having been passed on to more people in the area.
In Machakos, seven cases have been confirmed so far; two in Syokimau, a fast-growing residential suburb that has attracted mostly the middle-class, while Athi River, Kamulu, Rubi Garden estate, Kithunguni and Viraji have reported one case each.
“The reason for mentioning the specific areas (where cases have been confirmed), is to show you that it (coronavirus) is not a Nairobi disease; it’s not a stranger’s disease.
It is something in your neighbourhood. It is something that is being carried by your brother, a sister, it is something that is within a friend that you have,” the minister said.
In Kajiado, cases have been confirmed in Kitengela, Matasia and Ongata Rongai, where one of the earliest cases of the virus, involving Ivy Brenda Cherotich, who has since recovered, was reported.
The latest cases emerged even as the ministry warned that a single infection is likely to multiply to dozens, leading to exponential figures, especially in areas where people are not observing hygiene and social distancing measures.
The middle-class, who seem not to have been hit by the adverse economic effects of the pandemic yet, have been courting death by continually defying government directives on social distancing by holding outdoor and house parties to kill boredom especially on weekends.
Owners of bars and hotels with accommodation have turned some of the rooms to“party areas” where they are allowing people with common interests to consume alcohol while other party goers are hosting events on fields in the estates, putting their lives and those of others at risk.
Yesterday, the minister announced that police have so far arrested 455 people for flouting the rules, some of who have been put on forced quarantine for 14 days, with government warning that Kenyans’ indiscipline could cost the country dearly.
For instance, in a clear act of recklessness and life risking that could pass the sickness to the venerable, 23 people from Nyeri, including Rware MCA Paul Kanyari, were arrested and charged yesterday after they were founded drinking beer in a guest house.
Also, 39 women were on Sunday arrested in Nasra Estate in Komarock, Nairobi, at their friend’s wedding ceremony, and quarantined for 14 days at their own cost.
The spread of the virus from country to country saw the government ban all international flights, and with the disease already in many counties, the government is trying to avert a full blown national outbreak by sealing off the Nairobi metropolis.