The government on Tuesday issued a stern warning to traders in Marsabit County against any attempt to hoard essential goods in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Marsabit County Commissioner (CC), Evans Achoki also announced enhanced enforcement of the Public Health Act in a bid to improve on hygiene and sanitation as an effective way of fighting the spread of the deadly virus.
Achoki who led the county emergency preparedness and response team in sensitizing public transport operators and residents of Marsabit town on preventive measures against the coronavirus said punitive legal action would be taken against unscrupulous traders.
The CC who had earlier held a press briefing on details regarding the raft measures the government and stakeholders have instituted in the war against the virus said traders who will hoard goods and food stuffs in order to cash in on the health crisis would be arrested and prosecuted.
“We are not going to allow unscrupulous traders to create artificial shortages of essential goods and foodstuffs like sanitizers, sugar and flour for selfish gain,” said Achoki.
He said that law enforcement agents were on the lookout for possibilities of certain traders driven by greed to take advantage of the health crisis facing the country for selfish gain.
Achoki was accompanied by CEC member for Health, Dr. Jama Wolde declared a ban on hawking of food stuffs in Marsabit town and other urban centers across the county while public service vehicles were expected to maintain high sanitary standards.
While urging members of the public to regularly wash their hands with soap and water, the CC reminded them that shunning of handshake greetings was no longer an option.
Achoki directed that SACCOs at all matatu termini operating in the county must provide water and soap for travelers to clean their hands and sanitizers for use during the journey.
Pointing out that some PSV vehicles had been found to be dirty and infested with bedbugs, the CC said crews should ensure cleaning and disinfecting of the vehicles after everyday operation.
Dr. Wolde said that public health officials would assist in ensuring that public service vehicles meet acceptable sanitary standards with those falling short of the requirement removed from the road.
The CEC emphasized the need for people to minimize movement and travel only when they cannot avoid to lessen chances of contracting the virus.
On hygiene, Dr. Wolde added that the ban on hawking of food stuffs would be effected while sanitary standards at eateries and hotels would be scaled up.
The CEC further asked public transport operators to assist in sensitizing their clientele on the need to maintain personal hygiene by hand washing as well as avoiding crowded places and socializing.
Elsewhere, the Little, a taxi transport company has assured its clientele that precautionary measures have been taken to safeguard clients, drivers and staff following confirmed cases of Covid-19 patients in Kenya.
The Chief Executive Officer, Little , Kamal Budhabhatti said the company is educating its driver-partners on the safety guidelines as per the World Health Organization website, as it plans to distribute alcohol-based hand sanitizers to drivers to administer to clients hiring their taxis.
In a statement sent to customers, Budhabhatti advised its staff and all members of the public to enhance cleanliness and disinfection of hands and surfaces with the use of certified chemicals that kill viruses, bacteria and germs.
“Covid-19 pandemic is global and all public transporters around the world continues to do their best to keep up with this situation; Little will continue to work closely with all relevant authorities and partners to ensure customers continue to take their journeys without a hitch,” said the CEO.
The Transport Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia on Monday ordered public service vehicle operators to fumigate their vehicles using disinfectants after every trip as government stepped up measures to mitigate against the spread of Covid-19 virus.
Kenya Railways Corporation was also directed to carry out a thorough cleaning and fumigation exercise on all trains after dropping off passengers at the conclusion of every trip to minimize transmission of the virus.
Meanwhile, the Kitui County today released three hotline numbers to report any suspected case of coronavirus to ensure rapid response.
The County Health Promotion Officer, Rael Onyancha said the hotline numbers will help members of the public seeking help to get prompt attention adding that so far the county does not any reported case.
“Following the Presidential request for hotline numbers, Kitui County has three hotline numbers, 0724036822, 0720615888, 0758391295 where citizens can call for any information regarding coronavirus,” said Onyancha.
Speaking during the Health Promotion Advisory Committee meeting, she said that one suspected patient was thoroughly examined and the results turned negative.
“Isolation wards for the suspected corona virus patients has been set up at Kauwi hospital,” said Faith Mutinda, a member of the committee.
Mutinda disclosed that all other hospitals have created some space to quarantine suspected cases.
“We are preparing other treatment centers in Migwani, Mwingi, Tseikuru, Mutomo and Ikutha Referral Hospitals,” she said.
“Laboratory technicians in Kauwi Hospital have been trained on how to handle the coronavirus cases,” she said. She promised that all other nurses will be trained in due course.
Mutinda pleaded with the general public to give the right information to avoid confusion and instilling fear to the citizens.
She recommended that A95 masks are the best to use and should be used by health workers at health facilities.
“Awareness on how to use surgical face mask usage will also be created,” revealed Mutinda.
She told the health promotion officers to educate the general public on the prevention measures to mitigate the chances of spreading the Virus.
By KNA TEAM