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30 Kenyans in forced quarantine for illegally crossing border into Tanzania

Department of health in Taita-Taveta County has placed under forced quarantine over 30 Kenyan traders and local villagers who were arrested in Taveta sub-county for illegally crossing the Kenya-Tanzania border.
The thirty will be held at Mahoo Girls quarantine facility for 14-days at their own cost even as medics check their health progress over fears that illegal border crossing heightens the threat of importing coronavirus from Tanzania.
Speaking in Taveta on Thursday during an inspection tour to check on Taveta sub-county preparedness to combat covid-19, Governor Granton Samboja said it was worrying that a section of local residents were still crossing the border to Tanzania at a time when all border movements were halted.
He noted that those illegal border crossings were happening through many routes in the hinterland of the border villages.
“This is not the time to do anything that endangers your family, neighbours and the country at large. We must stop such activities,” he said.
The governor further called upon members of community policing and NyumbaKumi elders to bolster security efforts by reporting any visitor or strangers in their villages. He noted that the wellbeing of the community was at risk when some criminal elements violated the laws for their selfish interest.
The governor further noted that while the One-Stop-Border-Post (OSBP) in Taveta would start testing of truck drivers to eliminate inter-country spread of Covid-19, there was need to increase the surveillance along the porous border which was a weak link in the war against coronavirus.
Last week, there was a scare after a local resident who had escaped at a quarantine facility in Tanzania was admitted at Taveta hospital with a broken limb following an accident days after he had sneaked back into Kenya.
The unsuspecting medics had handled him like a normal patient before his quarantine history was disclosed.
Though he later tested negative, the incident highlighted the risks posed by the Kenya-Tanzania porous border.
Dr. Omar Mwakitsanga, the Medical Superintendent at Taveta sub-county hospital, said the facility has already set aside a special isolation ward for covid-19 patients at Taveta hospital. The region has so far received 67 special beds and 17 oxygen concentrators.
The medic said the hospital was working closely with the security agencies to rapidly collect people who are arrested crossing the border and containing them in quarantine as part of containment measures to halt the spread of the disease.
“We are picking them from very remote areas and bringing them to Mahoo Girls which is one of our designated quarantine facilities,” he explained.
The other quarantine facility is at Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) in Taveta.
To date, there has not been any case of Covid-19 reported in the region.
County Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha said the security agencies had enhanced the surveillance along the porous border.
She noted that some bodaboda riders were attempting to smuggle sugar and other food stuff through the border but warned them of severe consequences.
“We will impound the bikes, take you to quarantine and also charge you for criminal activities. This is the time we must adhere to ministry of health directives,” she said.
By WagemaMwangi

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