Fear has gripped Kirinyaga County after the area recorded seven suspected coronavirus cases, County Commissioner Jim Njoka has said.
Njoka however said the suspected cases were yet to be confirmed through the laid down laboratory procedures at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).
In that regard, the county commissioner has urged the residents to exercise extra care while going about their business by keeping the recommended social distance of staying one meter apart.
Njoka made the remarks at the Kirinyaga County headquarters in Kutus town Tuesday when he joined Governor Anne Waiguru during the distribution of water tanks and sanitizers for the all the 20 Wards and markets in the county.
He decried the defiance being exhibited by some local residents who have deliberately ignored to keep the prescribed social distance.
“I am shocked by the defiance being exhibited by some hawkers especially those who sell their merchandise by the roadside when we have advised them to remain in their kiosks and wait for the customers in an attempt to control the spread of the virus,” he said.
He said due to the strategic location of the county, long distance drivers who make stop overs while buying fruits and other farm produce hawked within various markets were possible carriers of the killer disease.
“We have truck and lorry drivers headed from Nairobi through Mwea and Sagana where they make stop overs and in order for our traders to be safe, let these drivers find some washing water and soap by their kiosks as guided,” he said.
Njoka also slammed some Bar and Restaurant operators for failing to stick to the takeaway arrangement on food but were now allowing their customers to sit and have the foods in their premises.
“We are warning such operators if caught we will have no alternative other than to revoke their licenses and arrest their customers,” he warned.
On her part, Waiguru said the county has identified and set six schools where in the event the disease broke out in the area victims would be isolated.
“We have Mwea Boys High school, Kagio High school, Karoti girl’s high school, Kerugoya, Kianyaga and Baricho boys’ high schools which have been prepared and fumigated for use as isolation wards just in case there is an outbreak of this disease,” she said.
Waiguru also asked the area MCAs to urgently approve the names of the members of the County Public Service a Board whom they rejected as a matter of urgency.
“We would wish the Assembly passes these names right away so that this Board may start recruiting the 200 medics we urgently require to cope with the prevailing corona virus situation in our county,” she said.
Waiguru also said the same Board was expected to hire medical interns to boost the current workforce and further urged those MCAs not to politicize the matter.
“Whether there are any differences between the County Executive and the MCAs, we should forget about them and face this glaring disaster together then the rest can follow after we overcome the killer virus,” she said.
Waiguru was accompanied by the Njukiini Ward MCA Fredrick Bundi, his Kangai counterpart Joseph Gitari, Karumandi‘s Antony Munene, Kabare’s Patrick Comba, nominated Maurine Muthoni and Kariuki out of the 33 both elected and nominated.
During the occasion, Waiguru granted a one month grace period for the business community after the time required to have renewed their licenses which the date of expiry stood as April 1.
Comba made the passionate appeal to the governor to grant the grace period following the expiry of the payment period today.
“Since the time to renew this year’s trading licenses expired today and given the outbreak of this disease am pleading with you to grant these businessmen some grace period to enable them organize themselves,” the MCA pleaded.
By Irungu Mwangi