Security apparatus in Kilifi County have intensified surveillance along the county’s borders with other counties with a view to stopping persons from crossing in or out of the devolved unit.
This follows reports that some people have been flouting the cessation of movement of persons into and out of the county ordered by the government as a measure to control the spread of the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Area County Commissioner Magu Mutindika said on phone Monday that the security agents would seal all identified panya-routes used by individuals to enter or go out of the county, saying allowing the vice to continue would undermine government efforts against the pandemic.
“We have already identified all illegal entry/exit points and sent security officers to stop the illegal movement of people in and out of this county,” he said.
He said Mazeras had been identified as the most notorious area where people, especially those working in Mombasa, were using footpaths to cross in and out of the county after the government mounted road-blocks at all entry points.
“For us to stop further spread of the virus in our county, we must adhere to all government directives, including the cessation of movement in and out of the county,” he said.
The government on Monday extended the cessation period affecting the Nairobi Metropolis, Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa and Mandera Counties for a further 21 days.
The county shares borders with Taita Taveta to the west, Kwale to the south-west, Mombasa to the south, Tana River to the north and the Indian Ocean to the east, and unless residents observe discipline, sealing all panya-routes can be a herculean task.
Governor Amason Kingi and his Mombasa counterpart, Hassan Ali Joho, have been advocating for a complete lockdown in the two counties to contain the disease and mass testing to determine the extent of the infections.
Mombasa has been recording a steady increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases while Kilifi’s curve has flattened over the past one month, with only about 10 cases confirmed so far.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mutindika has asked farmers in the area to utilise the current rains to grow food crops with a view to ensuring residents do not starve should the Coronavirus crisis persist.
He at the same time asked residents to plant trees with a view to increasing the forest cover and fighting drought conditions that have affected many areas of the county.
By Emmanuel Masha