Counties in the North Rift Economic Block (NOREB) have resolved to close all mortuaries and ordered that all funerals be done within 24 hours of death in a move to contain the spread of Coronavirus.
In a press briefing, the governors, through the NOREB chairman Jackson Mandago also ordered all mortuaries within the region be closed with immediate effect saying it would reduce overcrowding.
“Following the advisory of the MTRH Covid-19 task force and the county response teams, we have resolved that all funerals must happen within 24hrs of death, all mortuaries will be closed and we advise bereaved families to discourage home visits and ensure the number of mourners do not exceed 50,” said the governors.
They said the drastic moves were not to punish the public but to reduce overcrowding in funerals, adding that the region is taking precautions to tame spread of the contagious disease.
The county chiefs further ordered that all open markets in the region be closed for 30 days from today (Thursday) as such places attract many people.
“We appeal to the president to certify Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital MTRH to carry out tests on the corona virus. We would like the government to certify more centres in the country to reduce the time taken to get the results,” they appealed.
They said the time taken to send the samples to KEMRI in Nairobi and getting the results delays the screening process which eventually will cause congestion in the medical facilities.
The preventive measures comes at the time when confirmed cases of patients with the coronavirus has risen to seven in the country.
At the same time, churches in North Rift have also joined the nation in securing the country from the spread of coronavirus by suspending Sunday Services and all other scheduled church meetings for three weeks.
In a circular released by Sirikwa Pentecostal Church in Eldoret on Thursday, the church said the meetings suspended include home cares, trainings, Committee meetings, as well as men’s and women’s fellowship.
Senior Pastor John Ayieko and Chairman Donald Otieno who signed the circular advised their congregants on the measures set to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic is contained through following guidelines issued by the government.
“Sunday services will be availed online for members to access through a link that will be sent. The pastors will continue to offer ministerial help subject to the government guidelines and the church will remain open for individual prayers,” read the circular.
The church also concurred with proposals announced by the North Rift Economic Block (NOREB) on burials, saying any burials be conducted in the region should be done within 24 hours following death occurrence.
“As a church, we will follow the direction by the governors in NOREB where 50 people will be allowed to attend the burial. The governors also discouraged home visits during bereavement, but the church said given the reality during such times, visitation be limited strictly to 3-5 people at a time with absolute no crowding and strict observance of all hygiene measures recommended by health practitioners,” the circular advised.
Meanwhile, MTRH CEO Dr. Wilson Aruasa said so far, no Coronavirus case has been reported at the health facility, and assured residents and patients at the MTRH that all precautions have been put in place to ensure their safety.
“For now, we have no cases reported and I want to tell the public that they should not panic but maintain high standards of hygiene,” said Aruasa.
By Ceciliah Maritim and Kiptanui Cherono