Counties announce a raft of measures to contain Covid-19

Tuesday March 24 2020

Police officers enforce orders to stop members of the public from accessing Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach following ban on public gathering on March 16, 2020. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Counties on Monday instituted tough measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus. This came a day after President Kenyatta urged government institutions to reduce public interaction by cutting down on non-essential services.
Kakamega County government suspended admission of bodies to all its mortuaries amid growing fears of the coronavirus.

Governor Wycliffe Oparanya urged families with bodies in the mortuaries to collect them immediately for burial.

The governor also announced a waiver on the standard charges for all the bodies currently in the mortuary. County Medical Superintendent Victor Zimbulu said a total of 65 bodies were lying at the county general hospital mortuary. “57 have been identified, three are unclaimed while five are involved in police cases.”

In Nandi, Governor Stephen Sang asked about 4,000 employees to work from home for the next 30 days. “Only those in the finance and health dockets will continue working from their offices,” he said.

The governor also banned hawking of food and directed the closure of all open-air markets, early childhood development facilities and night clubs.
He also closed athletics training facilities and directed all athletes to vacate training camps immediately.

In Uasin Gishu, the county banned night clubs from operating, introduced hand-washing equipment and sanitisers in bus terminuses and banned public gatherings.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago said they have agreed with the matatu leadership to decongest terminuses as a preventive measure.
He also asked residents to stop hugging and shaking hands.


Mr Mandago said they had formed an emergency response committee composed of MCAs and the Executive. “We also are working with the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital to ensure that experts and our personnel are on high alert.”

In Bungoma, a spot check by the Nation at the busy bus terminal found water points put in place for passengers to wash hands before boarding or after alighting.

Mr Simon Obongita, the director of Bungoma Classic Shuttle, said they have ensured all their Western and North Rift regional offices have water for passengers.

Bungoma Chamber of Commerce Chairman John Max Wafula urged residents to comply with the directive of washing hands every hour.

In Nyeri, Governor Mutahi Kahiga ordered all bars and nightclubs to close by 10pm. Early Childhood Development Centres and Vocational Training Centres were also shut.

“In the event that any person exhibits symptoms associated with the Covid-19, we have provided a standby ambulance for transportation to our quarantine facility,” the governor said.

But in Karatina Market, one of the largest open-air markets in the region, it was business as usual. Traders and authorities took no measures like basic hand washing, let alone screening of hundreds of customers.


In Embu, all schools were closed following the presidential directive. And, in Kirinyaga, most social places were almost deserted.

In Meru, supermarkets, markets and other public facilities that do not comply with hygiene guidelines will be shut down, County Commissioner Allan Machari announced. He also ordered food vendors out of the streets. In Kisumu, Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o and director of special programmes Ruth Odinga moved to ensure that residents living in evacuation centres as a result of the swelling of Lake Victoria are protected from the virus.

However, a group of health workers put the county government on the spot over a purported training session on coronavirus preparedness. Kenya Union of Clinical Officers Kisumu branch chairman Vincent Owaa asked when and where the 200 health workers were trained to handle the virus.

In Siaya, the county government has recalled all its health workers who were on leave.

In Homa Bay and Nyamira, residents have embraced hand washing. In Busia, Governor Sospeter Ojaamong’ has prepared a Sh55 million budget to counter the spread of the virus.


In Nakuru, food, sanitiser and hand-wash shelves in major supermarkets were swept clean.

In Laikipia, health workers accused both the county and the national governments of failing to equip them with proper gear.

Laikipia Nurses Union of Kenya Secretary Douglas Sagini said health workers had not been sensitised on how to control and handle the virus.
In Mombasa, panic gripped traders at Kongowea market. “I interact with so many people. So what happens if my customer gives me money?” asked Everlyne Muthoni, who sells fruits.

But the market’s superintendent, Salim Hamumi, said the facility’s management will provide strategic points where buyers and sellers will wash their hands.

Reports by Justus Ochieng’, Gaitano Pessa, Dickens Wasonga, Ian Byron, George Odiwuor, Derrick Luvega, Siago Cece, Farhiya Mohammed, Brian Ocharo, Philip Muyanga, Steve Njuguna, Irene Mugo, David Muchui, George Munene, Nicholas Komu, Stephen Munyiri, Phyllis Musasia, Onyango K’Onyango, Brian Ojamaa, Stanley Kimuge, Dennis Lubanga, Wycliff Kipsang, Barnabas Bii and Tom Matoke