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Hawkers, Idlers ordered out of Eldoret town CBD

A  Nurse screening the Trans Nzoia County Police  Commander, Ayub  Gitonga at Mt. Elgon Hospital in Kitale on March 23, 2020. Photo by KNA.
The  Trans  Nzoia County Commissioner, Samson  Ojwang  addressing the press outside Mt. Elgon Hospital in Kitale on March 23, 2020.
Photo by Ngeywa Mosobin/KNA.
The Trans Nzoia County Commissioner, Samson Ojwang, addressing the press outside Mt. Elgon Hospital in Kitale on March 23, 2020.
Photo by Ngeywa Mosobin/KNA.
The Trans Nzoia County Governor, Patrick Khaemba addressing the press outside Mt. Elgon Hospital in Kitale after the inspection of the facility identified as an Isolation Centre on March 23, 2020. Photo by KNA.

Hawkers and all idlers were on Monday morning ordered out of Eldoret town as part of implementing tough measures issued by the government to prevent Coronavirus from spreading.

The area Officer Commanding Station (OCS), Mike Lekailel and other senior officers were seen going around the town with a loudspeaker mounted on a police land cruiser asking members of the public without anything to do in the town to go home.

Hawkers were also ordered out of town with traders being required to remain inside their business premises.

The team toured the Eldoret wholesale and retail markets, the main bus park, and matatu stages along Eldoret-Webuye, Eldoret-Kapsabet, Eldoret-Iten, and Eldoret-Ravine routes.

Addressing the press at Eldoret Central Police Station later, the County Police Commander (CPC), Johnstone Ipara, advised residents not to leave their homes to town unless on essential business. Ipara said police officers have firm instructions to round up and lock in the cells idlers crowding in the town.

“People coming to loiter in the CBD will not be allowed from today, only those coming for medical checkups in health facilities, to buy food or going to job places will be allowed,” said Ipara.

Meanwhile matatu operators in the county increased fare following a government directive that they carry only eight passengers to prevent close contact.

During stakeholders meeting with security officers the matatu operators led by their chairman Fred Wamu, said they had been forced to increase the fare to cushion the sector from running out of business as a result of measures taken to prevent spreading of the contagious COVID 19 pandemic.

Travelers  from Eldoret to Kakamega were forced to pay Sh.400 from Sh.300, while those traveling to Kitale paid Sh.300 up from Sh. 200. Bus fare from Eldoret to Iten rose from Sh.100 to Sh. 150. Those traveling to Nakuru paid Sh 600 instead of the normal Sh. 400 while those going to Busia parted with Sh. 400 instead of Sh. 300.

Town service commuters have also been affected by the new rates with most routes increasing by Sh.10.

Meanwhile, the Trans Nzoia leaders have asked residents to take personal initiative in helping both levels of government fight the deadly coronavirus.

Area  Governor, Patrick  Khaemba  and the County Commissioner (CC), Samson Ojwang, while speaking to the press  after holding Emergency Response Committee meeting at the governor’s boardroom today, said prevention measures will only succeed if residents take a personal initiative in following guidelines given by WHO and the Ministry of Health.

The  Governor urged residents to strictly adhere to preventive measures such as hand washing, maintaining social distance and avoiding social gathering in order to contain the infectious disease.

At  the same time, Khaemba said the devolved unit had waived all mortuary fees in an effort to encourage those who lost their loved ones burry within the shortest time possible.

“By burying your loved ones within 24 hours upon death, you will be reducing on the time spent on social gatherings and possible contacts,” he said.

On his part, the CC the number of people to attend funerals has been reduced from 50 to 15, adding that local administrators are on the ground to ensure compliance.

“I want to tell Chiefs and their Assistants that they will be held personally responsible in the event that the guidelines are not followed,” he said.

The two leaders said that both levels of government are contemplating closing down market centres in an effort to stop any possible spread of the disease.

However, as at now all market days have been banned and open air markets might follow suit soon, added the Governor.

On local transport, the leaders asked matatu owners to comply or face the full force of the law.

“We will deal firmly with officers who receive bribes to allow touts carry more passengers than required,” said the County Commissioner.

He called on residents to use available hotlines to report on any suspected cases of the disease and on non –compliance, especially on social gatherings and matatus flouting the newly instituted passenger guidelines.

The two leaders asked the media to keep on educating members of the public on coronavirus, adding that residents must always be made aware of what is expected of them through radio, Television, Newspapers and other Media channels.

The leaders later visited Mt. Elgon Hospital which has been identified as isolation centre to assess the county’s level of  preparedness in combating any outbreak of coronavirus in the area.

By  Kiptanui Cherono/Pauline Ikanda

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