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Old Town residents breathe a sigh of relief as lockdown is lifted

Police  Officers  keeping vigil as the lockdown of Old Town area in Mombasa County took effect from Wednesday, May 6, 2020 as a result of increased cases of Covid-19. Photo by Mohamed Hassan/KNA.

Residents of Old Town in Mombasa County on Sunday expressed joy at the lifting of the month long coronavirus lockdown.

Residents interviewed by KNA said they were happy to regain their ‘freedom’ to move around the coastal city, saying the lockdown imposed to curb further spread of the Covid-19 has disrupted their lives.

“It  was a very difficult month in which we could not venture out of the Old Town to attend to our daily activities, said Abubakar  Salim, a trader residing in the area.

Salim  said the coronavirus restrictions hurt residents as it came at a time when Muslims were observing the holy month of Ramadhan.

He added that “lack of adequate food and clean water compounded our problems.”

Residents  woke up  and found security barriers removed following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s announcement to lift the restrictions on Saturday.

President Kenyatta lifted cessation of movement into and out of Old Town and Eastleigh in Nairobi from June 7, 2020, at 4am.

The  government had on May 6 imposed a lockdown of the two areas due to a spike in Covid-19 infections for 15 days which was later extended for a similar period.

However, the President extended the cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi Metropolitan area, Mombasa and Mandera Counties for a further 30 days.

At the same time, President Kenyatta lifted the cessation of movement in and out of Kwale and Kilifi Counties following decline of infections.

The Lockdown of the Old Town which was one of the hotspots of coronavirus in the country saw the closure of the famous Mackinnon Market popularly known as Marikiti and several other shops and malls.

The government deployed heavy security to seal off all entry and exit points to control further spread of Covid-19 cases.

The  areas that were under lockdown, included Mji wa Kale, Mlango wa Papa, Kuze, Makadara, Kibokoni and Baghani.

While imposing the restrictions, the Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe said the lockdown of Old Town and Eastleigh was necessary considering the surge in coronavirus cases in the two areas.

The government said the lockdown of the two areas was not a punishment but part of the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The  Mombasa County Commissioner (CC), Gilbert Kitiyo said the rapidly increased cases of Covid-19 in Old Town were alarming and therefore necessary to put in place measures to curb further spread.

Kitiyo noted that the increased cases of the virus in the area was a major concern to the government and that appropriate measures were necessary to protect area residents and the county at large.

By  Mohamed  Hassan

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