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Six thousand Ugandan herders among 300,000 screened for Covid-19 in Turkana

A total of 6,000 nomadic pastoralists from neighbouring Uganda are among 300,000 people in Turkana County screened for Covid-19.
Speaking during the county Covid-19 emergency response Committee meeting held at Ekaales center in Lodwar, newly appointed County Executive Committee member for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Aemun said more than 6,000 nomadic pastoralists families from neighbouring Uganda had crossed into Turkana using the Loima border corridor in search of water and pasture for their cattle.
“The ministry speedily responded by ensuring the presence of animal disease surveillance teams to handle the possible cross-infection of animal diseases and at the same time involved officers from the department of health to screen for Covid-19,” he said.
Turkana Central sub-county police commander David Mburukwa said that his officers will start enforcing the face mask requirements with renewed vigor.
It was noted that residents had slowly relaxed the precautionary measures.
“We shall be tougher on those flouting the rule which is a critical way of staying safe from Covid-19 disease,” Mburukwa said.
The committee also resolved that all truck drivers must have a valid Covid-19 test certificate before they can be allowed to enter Turkana County through Kainuk.
Chief Officer for Health Dr. Roberts Abok said the department had formally received the application protocol for control of Covid-19 at the ground crossing and along the transport corridors from the Ministry of Health for adoption and implementation.
According to Dr. Abok, the protocols were clear on what is expected of truck drivers with respect to testing for Covid-19 before embarking on travel yet a number of them had flouted the said provisions hence the stoppage at the various points of entry into the county including Kainuk.
The bone of contention was whether the testing applied to drivers crossing international borders or if it applies to intercountry borders as well.
The trade subcommittee which was represented by Dr. Michael Eregae reported the good news that prices of essential household goods were slowly returning to normal and stabilizing as well.
Dr. Eregae also said that though the volume of trade had improved significantly for fresh produce, the fish market trade was still recording reduced figures and downward trends.
The meeting was told surgical face masks, handwashing equipment, as well as IEC materials, had been received for distribution at the sub-county level donated by various partners.
The committee holds two meetings every week to assess the progress made and interventions needed to combat Coronavirus.

By Peter Gitonga

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