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County Commissioner bans prison visits, cautions against fake news 

The  Tharaka Nithi County Commissioner, Ms. Beverly Opwora (in blue dress) accompanied by her  security team, gives a press briefing at the Chuka Level 4 Hospital on Friday March 20,2020. Photo by KNA.
The  Tharaka Nithi County Governor, Muthomi Njuki  being screened for symptoms of Covid-19 before entering Chuka Level 4 Hospital on Friday March 20, 2020. Photo by KNA.

As the country continues to widen the net in the fight against the dreaded coronavirus, Tharaka Nithi County Commissioner (CC), Ms. Beverly Opwora has banned prison visits and cautioned the general public against spreading fake news over the pandemic.

“Prison visits remain banned until further directions are received from the President and I want to make it very clear that spreading fake news about Coronavirus as media practitioners or on social media is a serious criminal offence that can land anyone in jail,” said the CC.

Speaking during the inspection of the isolation ward created at the Chuka Level 4 Hospital  on Friday, Ms. Opwora said the spread of fake news about Covid-19 in the county would be treated as a criminal offence, adding that the two levels of government were working together to ensure that an isolation room and a trained nurse were availed in every prison.

“We are going to work together with the county government to ensure that the prisoners get someone to check on their health and set a side isolation room for anyone who is suspected to have the virus before they are taken to isolation wards, “said the Senior Administrator.

She further banned any partying or ceremonies especially weddings, adding that burials should not be conducted by more than 50 people of whom should be family members and few close friends and should not exceed one hour.

The CC disclosed that there would be regular patrols conducted by the area chiefs and the leaders of the “Nyumba Kumi” initiative who would be reporting to her to ensure that no children idled around market places.

During the event, the County Governor, Muthomi Njuki directed the closure of all the bars starting from Friday until the Covid-19 is controlled in the country.

Njuki said if there must be drinking, one should buy their drinks and carry home, saying in the  case of those with wine and spirits’ shops, nobody should be allowed to open a bottle at the premises and should anyone contravene the directive, their operating license would be terminated immediately.

He further said there would be no open air market days anymore until the nation is directed otherwise by the President with regard to fighting the Coronavirus not forgetting to further emphasize that every person should have a sanitizer especially in the shops and other business areas to avoid infecting others.

Njuki further ordered those with video dens to close their shops and miraa sellers to ensure they only sell ‘take aways’  saying if there would be selling of the stimulant, no one is supposed to chew it at the selling kiosks.

“If some churches have been closed down how can bars be open up to now? I’m warning especially those with bars and restaurants not to think we are not watching them. Some licenses will be taken away from this evening. Other counties have done the same so let’s stay at home for a while for our own safety,” said the governor.

He has however discouraged visiting of referral hospitals, saying people should go to the dispensaries and small health centres, saying one should go to a big hospital only if referred by medics to avoid crowded areas.

“There are those people who come from very far to be treated in a level 4 hospital yet we have dispensaries around their homes, I’m discouraging that and asking our Tharaka Nithi people to trust our doctors in those dispensaries,” said the governor.

Njuki further disclosed that the County Health Volunteers (CHVs) would  get a proper trainings so that they could supplement government officers in educate people in the villages over coronavirus by creating door to door awareness campaigns besides providing a thermometer to check the temperature of every passenger who comes from other places or counties.

By David Mutwiri/Monicah Nyagah

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