Tension is brewing in Kilifi over a possible spread of the Covid-19 after Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi, who travelled back from Germany, allegedly refused to quarantine himself for the mandatory 14 days.
A senior county official has confirmed the reports that the deputy governor has been placed under quarantine for 14 days after he refused to go into self-isolation after the foreign trip.
“It is true he failed to put himself under 14-day quarantine but I cannot discuss more on this through the phone,” said the official, who also did not immediately reveal details on where the deputy governor is being quarantined.
When the Nation contacted Mr Saburi for comment on the allegations, he did not respond to phone calls.
Locals took to the social media to condemn the deputy governor, referring to him as a “selfish and irresponsible leader” who has put the lives of many Kilifi residents at risk.
This was after some residents claimed they interacted with Mr Saburi, shook hands and even hugged him after his return from Germany.
In one of the social media platforms, Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga said he had an opportunity to talk to Mr Saburi who was very remorseful.
“He told me that when he landed from Berlin in Germany for an official trip, he took himself to Mombasa hospital where he was admitted for three days, [had] medical check-up and [was] later discharged after doctors gave him a clean bill of health,” Mr Chonga said.
The legislator said the deputy governor dismissed reports that he was arrested for refusing to quarantine himself, arguing that he took himself to the health facility.
“He says his status is perfect. He doesn’t feel anything unusual. He is sure the test he has taken for the second time will put the record straight on his Covid-19 status,” said Mr Chonga.
The MP said Mr Saburi is disappointed by “propaganda on the social media” concerning his Covid-19 status and reports that he was arrested for refusing to put himself under self-quarantine, saying this has ruined his reputation.
According to some sources, the deputy governor, who returned from Europe on March 1, is alleged to have attended a staff and Cabinet meeting without putting himself under a 14-day quarantine.
Last Wednesday, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi held a Cabinet meeting which allocated Sh73 million to help in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus in the county.
But Mr Saburi did not attend the Cabinet meeting. Kilifi County Commissioner Magu Mutindika was an invited guest at the meeting.
Mr Kingi said part of the funds will also be used to carry out civic education at the grassroots level to ensure everyone is aware of the disease and the need to wash hands with soap, keep a distance and avoid crowding.
Addressing journalists outside his office, the governor also announced that his administration will distribute free hand sanitisers in all bus stages and markets.
“The sanitisers will be placed in all public places and bus stages. We shall also enforce the directive by the Ministry of Transport that requires matatus and boda-boda operators to use sanitisers to clean their clients’ hands,” he said.
At the same time, the governor banned all bars and night clubs from operating for the next 30 days in the wake of the coronavirus cases in the country.
“This ban also applies to mangwe (mnazi brew pubs) operating in rural areas” he said.
“I also discourage people from eating in restaurants; if you have to eat there, ensure you practise hygiene.”
He also banned gatherings such as weddings and funerals and advised residents to ensure that if such events must be carried out, only a few family members should be in attendance.
“In case of a funeral, we will contribute through M-Pesa and condole with the family but we shall not attend. We are not going to allow gatherings in Kilifi anymore including in places of worship until the disease is controlled,” he said.