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Deputy Governor calls for testing of truck drivers for Covid 19

The  Turkana Deputy governor, Peter Lotethiro on Monday said truck drivers would be required to produce certificates indicating they are free from Covid 19 before they can be allowed to enter the county.

This contradicts the County Commissioner (CC), Muthama  Wambua  who has maintained that screening is ongoing for all persons entering the county.

Addressing the media and county residents through the local FM stations during Madaraka day celebrations at Ekaales centre, Lotethiro said that lack of testing of truck drivers would lead to an upsurge of Covid 19 cases in the county.

In a rejoinder the CC said the truck drivers are screened for temperatures just like other vehicle users and wondered why the county government was targeting truck drivers.

He  said that demanding truck drivers to produce Covid 19 certificates would amount to applying double standards because the truck drivers travel from as far as Mombasa without being asked to show certificates of Covid 19 testing but are screened for temperatures.

“Turkana County is not on a lockdown except for Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee camps. I have no powers to enforce a lockdown without directives but if the leaders want a lockdown they can raise the matter with Cabinet secretary for health,” said Wambua.

He said he is willing to enforce every national government directive to combat Corona virus, noting  Mombasa, Kwale, Eastleigh in Nairobi, and Mandera are some of the areas under lockdown.

On his part, Lotethiro appeared to blame the law enforcement officers for entry of truck drivers into the county without testing for Covid 19, claiming they could spread Coronavirus.

“Only those drivers with Covid 19 free certificates will be allowed into the county,” maintained Lotethiro.

The  Deputy governor  said Kainuk along the Turkana/West Pokot border and Nadapal which is at the border of South Sudan pose a risk to county residents.

He lauded the national government for closing the airstrips in the county, adding that more needs to be done at Kainuk and Nadapal.

Some of the truck drivers traveling from Uganda are using the Nadapal border to avoid congestion at Malaba border.

Meanwhile, Govenor Josphat Nanok  in a speech read by his  Deputy  said his government has allocated Sh. 159 million to the department of health for Covid 19 preparedness and response.

“There are now 52 screening centers and 54 quarantine facilities in the county with over 230,000 people having been screened so far,” said Nanok.

Nanok  said the Kenya medical training college in Lodwar is already operational as a quarantine center with Kanamkemer sub county hospital dedicated as a Covid 19 isolation facility in Turkana central.

“My administration is currently recruiting 353 human resource to enhance the strength of medical workforce across all cadres to support the fight against this invisible enemy as we continue to upgrade the quality of health care services across the county,” he added.

At the same time, Lotethiro said the county government is yet to receive funds for Covid 19 mitigation.

“The information that we have already received funds for Covid 19 is not true, we are relying on funds allocated previously to the ministry of health. Once the funds are approved by county assembly we shall be able to spend on the targeted areas,” said Lotethiro.

He noted that the county annual revenue collection has dropped from targeted Sh. 250 million to Sh. 157 million due to Covid 19.

By  Peter  Gitonga

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