Movement of people on border entry points in Northern Eastern will now be restricted to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Addressing the press in his office, North Eastern regional commissioner Nicodemus Ndalana said that the county security and intelligence committees are under strict instructions to ensure that only deserving cases like the sick seeking healthcare services are allowed in.
Ndalana however noted those who will be allowed in will be subjected to thorough screening and testing.
“As was confirmed by the ministry of health on Tuesday, the deadly virus is here with us. It’s upon us now to ensure that we stop its spread,” Ndalana said.
“If we are not careful and fail to listen to government guidelines then we will have ourselves to blame,” he added.
On Tuesday, two siblings from Mandera tested positive for the virus, the first case to be reported in the county and region.
The two, a lady aged 22 and a student at the Kenya medical training college in Kilifi and her brother 20, arrived in Mandera on April 1 from Nairobi aboard the Makha bus.
The duo presented themselves at a private facility after showing flu-like symptoms and fever two days ago.
The facility alerted the county’s Covid -19 response team who took them to Mandera county referral hospital isolation facility. Their samples were collected and sent to Nairobi the same day. They were confirmed positive.
Ndalana also warned bus operators and other motorists to stop ‘the monkey business’ of using panya routes to access the counties of Nairobi, Kilifi and Mombasa where movement in and out has been restricted for 21 days.
The regional commissioner was referring to some bus companies dropping passengers from Garissa to Thika, after which passenger are left to device their own means of getting to their destination, mostly in Nairobi.
He said the consequences for those found would be dire noting that ‘the best thing to do would will be to cooperate and follow government directives.
Kenya shares borders with Ethiopia to the North and Somalia to the East. The three counties of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera have entry and exit points to Somalia.
Residents from Bula sufti in Ethiopia and Bula Hawa in Somalia that is less than 10 kms apart share a lot in common. Apart from doing business together and accessing healthcare in Mandera, most of them have relatives on both sides.
By Jacob Songok