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‘Rethink about border shutdown,’ says governor

The  Government has been advised to shut regional boundaries as one way of addressing the rising cases of new Covid-19 infections in the country.

The  Kajiado County Governor, Joseph Ole Lenku  while speaking in Machakos on Wednesday during a Council of Governors (CoG) meeting said people crossing into the country from neighbouring nations could spell a death knell to the government’s efforts in fighting the deadly scourge which has so far claimed 26 people in Kenya.

Lenku  singled out Kajiado and counties bordering Somalia, Uganda and Ethiopia as potential areas which may prove to be the next epicenters of the disease as a result of cross border movements.

“Watching the situation unfolding in Tanzania sends cold shivers down the spine of people of Kajiado and Kenya in general. Unless something is done to address border movement which may require a complete shutdown, we may never be in a position to flatten the infection curve,” he said.

Kenya has recorded at total of 582 Covid-19 infections and 24 deaths so far.

On his part, Isiolo Governor, Dr. Mohamed Kuti has raised alarm at the sudden resurgence of normal traffic flow in and out Nairobi warning that this might spell doom for the government’s efforts in the war against the pandemic.

The county boss who also doubles as Health Chair in the CoG warned that the country was still in the woods and any resumption of normal business activities in the country may play the country into the very hands of the pandemic, with disastrous consequences.

Dr. Kuti urged Kenyans to continue heeding government directives including avoiding making unnecessary movements, saying this was the only way the country was going to win the war against the disease which is threatening mankind’s survival.

“We are not out of the woods yet. The number of new infections is rising thanks to enhanced mass testing currently going on. This means the disease is spreading fast and unless we take caution, the number of infections may be very high in July and August,” he warned.

The  CoG Chairman, Wycliffe Oparanya said counties have finalised recruitment process for 5,550 health workers in an effort to boost the war against Covid-19.

He said the health workers would soon be deployed to various work stations even as the National government plans to inject an additional 1,156 health staff.

“The process of short listing and interviewing the candidates was completed on April 30, 2020 as we had earlier informed you. The newly recruited 5,550 health workers will begin to report to their work stations on different dates this month. Plans by the national government to hire additional 1,156 health workers are welcome. This will bring the total number of health workers recruited to 6,656 as agreed upon by the national government and Council of Governors,” revealed Oparanya who is also Kakamega Governor.

And to bolster the fight against the pandemic which is slowly making inroads into rural areas, counties have set aside Sh6.1 billion in their Supplementary Budgets after the national government failed to send money to devolved systems on time.

In addition and to safeguard their staff, Oparanya reported that 20 county governments have already procured 315 PPEs alongside 30,000 assorted gears in the past week.

He said 43 counties have received a donation of 86 oxygen concentrators, 173 infra-red thermometers and 86 pulse oximeters.

“As of today, we have a total of 209 ICU beds in 26 counties. To supplement this, 43 County Governments received a donation of 86 oxygen concentrators from Crown Healthcare, 172 infra-red thermometers and 86 pulse oximeters,” he added.

He nevertheless cited the ongoing rains, flooding and landslide being experienced in many parts of the country as some of the challenges being experienced by county governments and requested well-wishers to provide support to the affected areas.

The  Machakos Governor, Dr. Alfred Mutua on his part urged the national government to do more in supporting counties improve health structures, warning that there were cartels who were hell-bent in sabotaging this initiative through advocating for health docket to be reverted to the national government.

Globally, the Covid 19 has already claimed 257,906 people with 1.2 million recoveries having been recorded as at May 6.

More than 3.6 million others have been infected with the corona virus even as countries work round the clock to find a vaccine for the disease.

By  Samuel Maina

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