Narok county government has announced the gradual reopening of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve after four months closure due to Coronavirus pandemic.
The County Governor Samuel Tunai said the decision follows the directive from President Uhuru Kenyatta to reopen the air space as from August 1, 2020 that will pave way for international travels.
“The Maasai Mara game reserve is the backbone of our economy as a county hence we have to put measures on how to reopen the game reserve but on strict measures to avert the possibility of Covid-19 spread in the game reserve,” the governor said.
Tunai, who spoke after chairing the County Emergency and Response committee meeting Friday, said in a bid to avert the novel virus, every employee and people visiting the game reserve will have to undergo a coronavirus test to be allowed in the park.
“I have already spoken to the Kenya Medical Research Institution (KEMRI) so that they can give us a priority in this area to enable a speedy reopening of the reserve,” he said.
Already, Tunai said seven camps have reopened after 316 employees working in the camps were tested and found negative of Covid-19 and the camps fumigated.
“Among the camps opened are: Nabosho, Mara Serena and Mara Simba lodge which have conformed to the regulations laid down by the department of Health.
The governor announced the resumption of business by a Chinese Company that is constructing the Narok sewerage system days after it was closed when 22 Chinese working in the company tested positive of Covid-19.
“38 people had tested positive of Covid-19 in the county where 29 have recovered and three have died. Among those that have recovered are the 22 Chinese working in the Sewerage Construction Company,” said Tunai.
He reiterated that the public health department will continue with regular inspections at the game reserve to ensure high hygienic standards were adhered to.
“This is the season when the great wildebeest migration from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to Maasai Mara game reserve is happening. We expect to receive a number of foreign and local visitors during this season,” he reiterated.
In a bid to fight the virus, Tunai said the county is in the process of putting up 300 beds in a three block building at the Ololulunga Sub County Hospital for the Coronavirus patients.
“We expect one block to be launched next week. Also we have 40 beds set aside for the Covid-19 patients at the Narok County Referral Hospital,” reiterated Tunai.
By Ann Salaton