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Lamu Governor Warns Against Stigmatization of Covid-19 Suspects

The public has been warned against waging violent acts on people suspected to be having Covid-19 or those that have travelled from places that have the pandemic.
The warning was sounded by Governor Fahim Yassin Twaha in light of suspected stigmatization of Covid-19 cases within the past two months.
He made these remarks earlier today during a press briefing in the county’s Mokowe headquarters over the status update on the county’s preparedness with regards to managing and preventing the spread of Covid-19 within the county.
He revealed that although some two patients had exhibited presumed coronavirus symptoms while being admitted at the Mpeketoni Sub County District Hospital, it was too early to tell whether they were a risk to the community.
“Presumptions have led to rumours of a possible Covid-19 outbreak which is not the case and residents should be careful not to fall under the trap of stigmatising those seeking treatment for similar symptoms, which could just be TB or pneumonia,” Twaha stated.
Flanked by Lamu County Commissioner Macharia Irungu and the Covid-19 Management Committee, the governor further revealed that the samples of the two patients had been taken and dispatched to KEMRI Laboratories with results expected within 24 hours.
“The two patients have already been isolated and contact tracing is already underway to know their travel history,” the governor said.
He advised the public to call the hotline numbers that the county public health had provided to enable trained public health officials handle such suspects instead of people taking the law into their hands.
Twaha also stated that it was very important for people to understand that anyone could get infected and urged residents to adhere to Ministry of Health preventive guidelines.
No Covid-19 case has been reported in Lamu since the outbreak of the global pandemic within the country last month.
However, Twaha reiterated that the county government’s health facilities have designated isolation facilities that would help in case of an outbreak in the area.
The governor was optimistic that the measures put in place by the county government were sufficient to tackle the spread of the virus should it arise.
He also commended the Lamu County Assembly for reallocating Sh50 million from their internal budget to aid the county manage the crisis.
The county government has so far set aside Sh10 million as an emergency fund for the county.
“The county is in talks with suppliers to bring in as many ventilators as possible in case of an outbreak, and we will also embark on a massive sanitizer distribution programme to keep the virus at bay.
“We are also organising how relief aid will be distributed to vulnerable families across the county in the wake of reduced revenue streams in more than 60 percent of households within the county,” he added.
He further said that TVETs in Lamu were so far engaged in making as many as 4,000 masks which would be distributed for free across the county as they were now too expensive to buy from any supplier.
These sentiments echoed by CC Irungu who urged well-wishers to coordinate with the Covid-19 county management team to distribute relief items rather than embark on solitary missions.
“We will not entertain individuals distributing relief items outside the designated programme in a bid to win political points. We urge that all relief should be steered towards this committee which will then channel it to the public,” Macharia said.
He also urged members of the public to adhere to the curfew regulations to avoid run-ins with law enforcement agencies whom he said were only keen to ensure the safety of Kenyans within the MOH regulations provided.
By Amenya Ochieng

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