Governors threaten to lock down counties if COVID-19 infections rise


Governors threaten to lock down counties if COVID-19 infections rise
Council of Governors (COG) chair Wycliffe Oparanya addresses a press conference. PHOTO | COURTESY

County Governors are now threatening to lock down their units should COVID-19 infections keep soaring within their jurisdictions.

Council of Governors (COG) chair Wycliffe Oparanya said they may have to reach that decision after witnessing rising numbers in counties neighboring Nairobi since the phased reopening was announced.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread within the community, with counties nearing Nairobi now bearing the brunt.

Out of 11,252 cases now, Nairobi carries the burden of more than 55 per cent at a caseload of 6,245.

Mombasa follows at 1,768 while Kiambu, which previously had a handful of cases, now ranks third nationally at 602 infections.

Busia and Kajiado counties both have more than 500 cases while Machakos is proving a new brewing point for the virus, nearing the 400 mark.

But the trend has been notable over the past ten days since the phased reopening was announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In the ten days since then, 3,588 new infections have been detected; 2,290 of them found in Nairobi, with Kiambu and Machakos following albeit at a distance with more than 200 new infections each.

This has now concerned the COG seeing as, with the lockdown lifted, more people are likely to move into and out of the Nairobi metropolitan area which is now a notable epicenter.

COG chair Wycliffe Oparanya, in a statement, said, “In the event that the situation gets dire, individual County Governments will have no choice but to in consultation with President Uhuru Kenyatta seek to lock down the affected County to contain the rapid spread and protect lives.”

Oparanya, who is also the Kakamega County boss, told of county governments’ frustration with the testing capacity in counties whose turnaround has changed from 24 hours to 7 days waiting time for residents whose samples are picked for testing at laboratories outside their counties.

This is, hence, jeopardizing efforts to trace contacts and persons that may have tested positive for the virus.

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Story By Sam Gituku
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