Kilifi County Covid-19 Emergency and Response Committee has ordered all burials to take place within 48 hours after death and to last for maximum of 2 hours in order to reduce the rising cases of the disease in the area.
Kilifi County has been recording a worrying trend of at least 20 new cases of Covid-19 infections every day equivalent to 15% daily positivity rate in the last 3 months.
Led by the Co-Chairs of the Committee, Kilifi County governor Amason Kingi and Commissioner Olaka Kutswa, the committee identified burials as the major hotspots contributing to the disease spread followed by worship places, weddings, bars, matatus, open air markets and sports tournaments.
The committee said citizens have been disregarding the Covid-19 directives put in place by the Ministry of Health, hence the need to take the harsh measures to reduce the rising cases of infections in the County.
“Anyone reported dead, Covid-19 related or not, should be buried within 48 hours. The more the body is kept in the mortuary, the more people are meeting in the affected homes to organize for the burial hence more chances of spreading the disease,” said Kingi.
According to the governor, people have been giving excuses of late arrivals to homes with dead bodies from mortuaries, hence keeping them overnight while conducting night vigils, a practice that has contributed to the increase of Covid-19 cases.
“From today, there will be no overnight vigil. Therefore, ensure you collect bodies before midday in order to bury them the same day before 4 pm. All the burials ceremonies should not last more than 2 hours with not more than 100 people attending,” he said.
Kingi said any religious leader who will be found conducting a burial ceremony with more than 100 people will be arrested.
According to the County Administration, drivers and conductors of the public vehicles found flouting the ban will face the full force of law, together with the SACCOs under which the vehicles are registered.
“We will assess the matatu SACCO whose vehicles are the greatest culprits in disregarding Covid-19 rules and suspend the SACCO,” Kingi said.
“This time round, we are going to deal with the duty bearers in areas where Covid-19 rules will not be observed. In a week’s time, you will be able to see the number of matatu SACCO that we shall have suspended, how many business licenses we shall have revoked, so that the Kilifi county residents will be able to know that we are not joking with this matter”, Olaka said.
The committee ordered closure of all open-air markets for the next 30 days with immediate effect, while warning that any resident who will be found not wearing a mask or observing the Covid-19 restrictions will face the law.
The committee also warned all hospitals not to allow friends and relatives to visit admitted patients in order to control the high rise in infections.
By Treeza Auma