The Lamu County government has set aside Sh10 million contingency fund to combat the spread of the novel Coronavirus pandemic in the county.
Lamu Governor Fahim Yassin Twaha revealed that the county government was also working closely with the County Assembly to pass a supplementary budget that will factor how to cushion Lamu residents against the aftershocks of the COVID-19 crisis that has affected commerce and trade sectors within the economy.
“We would also like to urge the County Assembly to reallocate some monies from their allocation to aid the county implement preventive measures that would prevent any spread of COVID-19 in Lamu,” he said.
“The county government in conjunction with the national government is implementing Ministry of Health guidelines over how to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus within the county,” Twaha said.
He further revealed that so far there has been no reported positive COVID-19 cases within Lamu, and urged politicians to set aside their political differences and work together in formulating solutions that would aid Lamu residents get through the global pandemic crisis.
In what is seen as a conciliatory move by the governor, he urged politicians to pool their resources together with the county government in a bid to combat the spread of the pandemic in the area.
“We have put in place mandatory screening at all entry points to Lamu, in a bid to minimise the risk of a mass outbreak in Lamu being brought about by travel,” he added.
He urged residents to adhere to the 7pm to 5am curfew and urged police officers to handle citizens humanely during this period.
The governor said that sectors such as tourism and fishing which are the economic mainstay of Lamu have been hard hit due to low or no returns within the sectors.
The county government is already mulling over the prospect of buying fish from fishermen for distribution to needy homes in a bid to cushion the fishermen as well as provide food for residents during this crisis period.
“Hotels are experiencing a tough time in Lamu, with low or zero hotel occupancy numbers due to the international travel ban on most countries that was imposed to ensure the spread of COVID-19 is contained,” he said.
He also noted that no sector has been left unaffected by the COVID-19 crisis and urged residents to treat the pandemic with the seriousness it deserves.
“We have trained personnel who will educate members of the public over the Coronavirus how to manage its spread and avoid infection,” Twaha said adding that according to studies the pandemic is presently responsible for one percent of deaths across populations.
He said that with a population of 150,000, Lamu was not ready to bury 1,500 people in case of an outbreak and urged residents to adhere to Ministry of Health regulations on social distancing, curfew and sanitation.
“We are working closely with some private sector players such as Peponi Hotel, which has provided one wing of their hotel to act as an isolation unit in case of full blown outbreak,” he observed.
Governor Twaha was however optimistic with the county government’s COVID-19 preventive measures to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak crisis.
Lamu County has also increased water points within the county with Lamu Water and Sewerage Company reconnecting disconnected water meters across the county in a bid to ensure proper sanitation measures.
The same sentiments were echoed by the County Public Health Officer Ahmed Muhsin who stated that the county government was in the process of buying at least 5,000 litres of alcohol based hand sanitisers that would be distributed across the whole county for use by residents.
Lamu County has also set up a COVID-19 crisis committee that will oversee the management of the implementation of preventive and socioeconomic management measures such as the disbursement of food and supplies across the county.
By Amenya Ochieng