Residents of Siaya County have been asked to shun the habit of attending funerals unless it is that of a nuclear family member to help curb the spread of corona virus in the region.
East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) member Dr Oburu Oginga said that while he appreciates that attending funerals of loved ones is part of the people’s culture, the habit needs to be shelved in the wake of Corona virus pandemic.
Oburu stated that those who are not part of the nuclear family can postpone the mourning of their loved ones until the pandemic is contained.
He said that Corona virus is not the first pandemic to have hit the region and historically when there were such pandemics like small pox and chicken pox, people avoided attending funerals until the pandemics were over.
“There have been other diseases that have hit us before causing massive deaths and therefore Corona will not be the first. What we need to do as people of Siaya is to keep off funerals that are not of an immediate relative. We can always wait until the end of the epidemic to mourn all those who we could not attend their funerals,” Oburu said.
Speaking in Bondo Sub County where he donated food to residents of Nyamira and Gombe villages whose livelihoods have been affected by the outbreak of Corona pandemic, Oburu regretted that funerals have become the epicenters of spread of the virus in the region.
Siaya County has so far recorded 27 positive cases of COVID 19 with a single death while 14 have recovered from the illness with nearly all the cases reported so far having been linked to a funeral function in the region.
Dr Oburu who is also the former Bondo constituency member of parliament told the residents to take extra precaution to avoid contracting corona virus now that the government has lifted cessation of movement in and out of COVID 19 hot spots in the country.
“There are a lot of elderly people here who will suffer if we are careless yet we know the movement in the country is now open. Our health capacity may not be able to support all of us if we allow the disease to spread,” Oburu said.
He told the residents to take full responsibility of their health and not to expect the police and local administrators to be everywhere to enforce the implementation of health directives.
Oburu was accompanied by Siaya county Deputy Governor Dr James Okumbe and a host of area MCAs asked the residents to take the pandemic seriously and strictly adhere to ministry of health guidelines to keep the virus at bay.
“This is a serious diseases and we have seen that it affects everyone including leaders in high offices and those who initially took it lightly have lost their lives. Ensure you have your face masks all the times, wash your hand and avoid unnecessary gatherings,” Oburu said.
The government’s directive on having a maximum of 15 individuals attending funeral have largely been ignored with funerals such as those of renown musicians from the region being attended by hundreds of mourners.
By Brian Ondeng’