Worry as public disregards rules amid virus third wave

Sunday, March 21st, 2021 23:03 |
Youths fight it out during a rally in Kamukunji Grounds of Kibra Constituency, Nairobi County last week. Ministry of Health rules in regards to social distancing are ignored. Photo/PD/Kenna Claude

Even as the country grapples with the spread of coronavirus, a section of Kenyans continues to ignore the Ministry of Health guidelines set to control the disease.

As fear of overstretched facilities emerges, a spot-check by People Daily in various counties revealed that the public transport sector, churches, entertainment joints and giant markets have dropped the guard by being ignorant as they have not been adhering to the said protocols.

Despite the rising grim statistics, it is business as usual, especially in the public transport sector where a large percentage  of operators have elected to disregard containment protocols.

In some areas, persons interviewed were of the opinion that the disease was for the rich and mighty in society.

A spot-check in a number of matatu terminus reveals that public service vehicles are carrying to capacity and in the process endangering lives of passengers.

In Nakuru County, the transport sector has been blamed for the spike in cases with matatus carrying beyond capacity and disregarding the social distance rule. Hand washing spots in matatu terminus have also been dropped.

Political class

For a while now, residents have lamented that as much as passengers observe the guidelines to protect themselves, no hygiene or anti-coronavirus measures had been put in place apart from a few bus stages in town.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui’s administration was jolted by the death of his Deputy Director of Political Affairs Wilfred Chebochok, who succumbed to coronavirus while undergoing treatment last week.

“Especially for us in the political class, our activities have turned out to be super spreaders, because we move from one big town to another; attract hundreds of people and thereby increase interactions,” said Governor Kinyanjui.

In Mombasa, in the giant Kongowea market, hundreds of traders and shoppers interact with each other with total disregard of the pandemic with only a few putting on masks or washing hands at the facility’s entrance. 

In the public service transport sector, matatus playing the town bound routes of Mtwapa-Ferry,Tudor-Mwembetayari and Mishomoroni-Mwembetayari were in total disregard of social distancing as majority of them exceeded the number of passengers.

And in Kakamega, a spot check by People Daily over the weekend established that a majority of residents do not still believe that the Coronavirus actually exists.

Churches, matatus, shops, markets, funerals and social entertainment spots were filled to the brim from Friday evening to yesterday.

Such include the death of a former councilkor in the Kakamega County Council, Henry Shikami and that of Shinyalu Constituency Development Fund Board member Florence Shisiali.

Both were buried on Saturday and their burial was just normal. Kakamega Women Rep Elsie Muhanda attended both funerals.

Ikolomani MP Benard Shinali attended the late Shikami’s funeral at Sigalagala in his constituency but he was perhaps one of the very few leaders who adhered to the protocols by ensuring he kept social distance, sanitised and wore his mask all through.

In Kiambu, a case in point is the Juja by-election campaigns where people, including political leaders have been congregating and mingling closely without giving a care about social distancing.

Unlike it was the case months ago, it is now business as usual in many bars and other public entertainment joints across the county with revelers hardly keeping social distance or washing their hands among other  Corona prevention guidelines. 

Most PSVs have been carrying passengers to capacity and even some have been exceeding the capacity .

“There is no Covid. Wearing a mask is inhibiting the operation of my respiratory systems.

We are wearing the masks half way to keep police away,” a matatu driver along Thika Superhighway said.

The Kisumu County Government has on the other hand once against announced strict measures to help contain Covid-19.

Addressing the media at the weekend, Nyanza Regional Commissioner Magu Mutindika said the third wave is obviously more vicious considering the number of patients requiring specialised care like ventilators, respirators and oxygen support and even the number of victims succumbing to the effect.

Survey by People Daily established that most matatus plying the Busia- Kisumu, Busia- Kakamega, Busia-Bungoma and Kakamega-Kisumu towns have resorted to overloading and exceeding limited number of passengers.

In Nairobi, the third wave of the disease has devastated families, some of whom have had to endure the pain of losing loved ones.

Chief Officer of Health, Nairobi Metropolitan Services, Dr Ouma Oluga raised a red flag, warning that most hospitals in Nairobi are almost full of Covid-19 related cases.

“We are staring at a big crisis. The reality is that most of our isolation centers are almost full as we continue to record more cases,” he warned.

Reports by Harrison Kivisu, Alvin Mwangi, Henry Andaje, Viola Kosome, Mathew Ndung’u, Oliver Musembi, Dennis Lumiti and Roy Lumbe, Noah Cheploen.    

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