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Mombasa residents warned of loaming lockdown

Mombasa County Covid-19 Response Committee has sounded an alarm over the unprecedented spike of Covid-19 transmission in the past one month with a current positivity rate of Nine (9) per cent.

The Committee led by Mombasa Governor, Ali Hassan Joho and County Commissioner, Gilbert Kitiyo, hinted that more stringent measures, including a possible lockdown may be invoked should the situation persist.

Spot-check by KNA indicates that recent trends by the residents have shown laxity in adhering to the Covid-19 set protocols, especially in the transport sector, open markets and worshipping areas during the Month of Ramadhan.

The Committee warned that Muslims should not use the Ramadhan month as an excuse to violate the health advisories, warning that should the situation escalate more stringent measures, including a possible lockdown will be taken.

“We have noticed there is a lot of laxity in adhering to the health protocols, especially in mosques, churches and the transport sectors,” said Kitiyo, adding that if the trend continues, the resident should prepare for the worst and more stringent measures, including a possible lockdown.

Governor Joho who spoke at the joint media briefing held at his office, warned that by evading the set protocols, it would erode all the gains made so far against the spread of Covid-19. The cases are linked to recent violation of Covid-19 rules in the mosques.

“There is a perception created out there that this war of coronavirus is a government versus the people, but we are at a point that if we default these protocols we will erode all the gains we have made so far,” regretted Joho.

The Governor called on the residents to avoid going against the set regulations, saying the County may be forced to review the already existing measures.

Joho announced that Mombasa County has created some new extension of Covid-19 centres at Tudor Health Centre and at the Coast General Hospital respectively to be able to address any spike.

“We are ready to handle any situation, in the event where there is a spike. We will scale down some services at some of the big hospitals so as to undertake the necessary emergency needs,” said Joho.

According to data released by the team, the County registered 752 positive cases last months, 762 this month and there is worry that the spike may surpass the current 9.3 per cent positivity rate.

“It’s a challenge to get oxygen, because we are depending on very little sources, we are worried that if there is a spike then there will be a crisis,” Joho expressed concern.

The Committee cautioned politicians against certain unnecessary utterances on the war against the disease, terming them as inciters of the people.

This comes after some Mombasa politicians criticized the County’s decision to force residents to use the new Liwatoni Footbridge in an effort to control the spread of the pandemic.

On the floating bridge, the Committee dispelled rumors that the users are forced to pay for the service. “Let’s play politics on other matters but in the matters of lives, I urge you to stay away,” appealed Joho.

The County has waived some levies to cushion the hospitality industry. Bed levy has been suspended and a 50 per cent waiver of other related levies affecting the tourism sector was also deferred. The 50 per cent levies for liquor, single business licenses and extension and bed levy also been suspended.

The Coast Chairman, Kenya Coast Tourism Association, Victor Shitakha, termed the current tourism situation as a tough one economically, saying many employees have lost jobs due to the pandemic.

“All the players in the tourism sector are compliant to the health containment measures and expressed optimism that the industry will stay afloat with the recent tax relief by the County government,” said Shitakha.

Mombasa County has also announced immediate vaccination of tourism stakeholders to cushion them from contracting the killer disease.

The Chairman of the Kenya Red Cross, Mombasa, Mohamed Mahmoud, said experts’ decisions should not be politicized, instead residents should heed to the directives.

By Chari Suche 

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