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Covid-19 pandemic: Governors want Kenya to close borders

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By LILLIAN MUTAVI
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The Council of Governors (CoG) wants the government to come up with a protocol that will see Kenya’s borders closed as part of efforts to contain the Covid-19 disease.

The council has raised concerns about the migration of people from Tanzania, Uganda and Somalia amid rising cases of local transmission of the virus and the importation of some cases.

Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) noted that in the last one week, nine counties that border other countries quarantined at 205 people and tested 249 for the disease.

He said that the border issue falls under government functions so governors cannot compel leaders in other countries to take action.

Governor Oparanya urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to come up with a protocol for dealing with neighbouring countries, that will only allow limited access, if any, in order to contain the disease.

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“It is the responsibility of the national government because there are protocols on how to deal with foreign countries. We hope we can scale up the issue with the National Coordinating Committee,” he said in Machakos County on Wednesday.

He spoke during a meeting of county chief who paid Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua.

The CoG chair also noted that for people quarantined in border counties, the cost is met by both the county and the persons quarantined.

These counties have put in place measures such as fumigation of trucks in transit and the screening of all persons crossing borders.

The goal is to encourage members of the public to get tested.

Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku noted that the county stretches 80 per cent into Tanzania and that events in that country had caused fear.

He called for the closure of Tanzania border’s with Kenya as pars of efforts to flatten the infection curve.

“We want A complete shutdown and for the national government to address the issue. The same goes for Somalia and Uganda,” he said.

Tanzania had at least 480 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of May 7 while Uganda had 100 and Somalia 873.

Isiolo Governor Mohammed Kuti said they were worried about the public’s return to normalcy despite an increasing number of infections in Kenya.

Governor Kuti said people had stopped going to hospitals and that as a result, the immunisation of children had slowed amid an increase in cases of malnutrition for reasons including the closure of schools.

He called for further education of the masses on the disease as measures including the fumigation of hospitals are taken.

“We cannot afford to go back from the miles made in maternal care due to the pandemic,” he said.

Governor Mutua condemned those calling for the national government to take over health, saying the push is “all about corruption by cartels at Afya House”.

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