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Border areas put on high alert as Covid-19 cases rise

Coast Regional Commissioner (RC) John Elungata has called for stringent checking at border transit points in the region following a surge in coronavirus cases.

Elungata has directed county security teams in Kwale and Taita Taveta that shares border with Tanzania to work closely with health authorities in a bid to conduct strict checking of people entering the country through designated transit points.

            He said Covid-19 surveillance has been heightened along the border with Tanzania amid threats of the new variants of the virus spreading into the country.

            He said border crossing points are busy places that require strict measures from the authorities such that those coming into the country through the borders are adequately screened.

            The Regional Commissioner who was speaking when he toured border crossing points in Taita Taveta County said surveillance across the region has been heightened to check on the risk of coronavirus infection.

            He said the border points are ‘high-risk areas’ for the viral disease and added entry and exit will only be through the gazetted areas which have hand hygiene stations and temperature checks.

            He said screening and testing of travelers along border points have been enhanced to combat the spread of Covid-19.

            Elungata who was accompanied by Taita Taveta County Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha asked communities in border areas to support the public health measures to contain Covid-19.

            He asked Taita Taveta and Kwale county Covid-19 Emergency Response Committees to launch sensitizing campaigns to ensure that there is social behavioural change in hygiene practices and social distancing among border communities.

            “We should all take preventative measures such as hand washing with soap, sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces seriously to mitigate the spread of the virus,” he said.

            He said border communities are most vulnerable to the Covid-19 outbreak and asked them to collaborate with health authorities involved in preventing the disease from entering the country.

            At the same time Elungata welcomed the decision by the Mombasa County Covid-19 Emergency Response Committee to direct human traffic towards the Sh.1.9 billion Likoni pedestrian floating footbridge.

            He said the goal of the project was to ease pressure of the overcrowded Likoni ferries during the current coronavirus pandemic.

            Elungata said the floating bridge is for the exclusive use of pedestrians as an alternative to the ferries noting that enforcing social distancing at the vital crossing channel has been a nightmare for the authorities since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease last year.

“The floating bridge provides an alternative to the ferries and should be embraced by pedestrians to control further spread of the virus in the coastal city” he said.

By Hussein Abdullahi

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