Please enhance COVID19 measures to curb infections, Governors urge president Uhuru

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BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,4TH NOV,2020-Governors have urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to enhance COVID-19 containmnent measures during to the surging infections and deaths since October.

The Chairman of the Council of Governors Wycliffe Oparanya said the increased cases were worrying, with fears that they may spiral even further.

“County Governments can no longer admit new patients. It is actually an acute crisis. Many patients are losing the battle en route to Nairobi to seek treatment,” he said in opening remarks during a meeting chaired by the president to review the measures, “We shall be asking we reexamine the easing of restrictions.”

He said the Council of Governors had asked President Kenyatta to re-introduction strict containment measures that include the 9.00pm to 4.00am curfew.

Oparanya said the council has resolved to impose a ‘No Mask No Service,’ initiative in a bid to stem the rising virus numbers.

In his opening remarks, President Kenyatta said the crisis was occassioned by “Kenyans who have failed in the enforcement and compliance to COVID-19 protocols.”

The Head of State was expected to announce the new measures to be put in place later Wednesday.

While the Council of Governors has demanded tougher containment measures, including the cessation of movement and more curfew hours, traders are reported to be opposed to it saying they stand to lose more.

It is this balancing act that will be placed on the table at the National Emergency Response Committee (NERC).

“We are anxious because we don’t know what is ahead, we just hope he won’t decide to close again,” said Raphael Rotich, a trader in downtown Nairobi, “We stand to lose a lot.”

Kevin Njoroge, a public transport operator said “if he decides to close, we will incur more loses because this festive season is when we make money.”

Kenya was on a partial lockdown since March until August when restrictions were eased and bars re-opened.

“We just hope he doesn’t close bars because I don’t think COVID-19 is spread in bars. All our patrons have been coming back since we re-opened which means they don’t get infected by coming,” said Lornah Njeri, a bar operator on Moi Avenue in the capital Nairobi.

Parents too were anxious, with concerns that if schools are closed for Form Four, Standard Eight and Grade 4, the school calendar will be thrown into disarray.

The rest of classes remain closed.

“To me, they should just keep schools on but spell out tougher measures,” one parent said, only identifying herself as Mercy.

The Head of State has convened the 6th Extraordinary session of the National and County Governments Summit to discuss the rising numbers and find mitigating measures.

Kenya has lately recorded high infections on a daily basis, sometimes as high as 1,000 with more than 10 fatalities daily average for a month.

“The session shall consider the evolution of the disease as well as the epidemiological models on how COVID-19 may propagate within our country over the months of November and December 2020,” said Kanze Dena, State House Spokeswoman, “The Session shall also review the efficacy of the containment measures in place, as well as the impact of the easing of the restrictions that were in place.”

Kenya lifted tough restrictions in August, when the airspace was re-opened for international passengers.

Other measures relaxed include re-opening bars and restaurants which had remained closed since March and allowing places of worship to resume services.

A night curfew was also extended from 9pm to start at 11 am to 4am.

State House said the summit to be chaired by President Kenyatta will also seek to assess how infections are likely to be in the festive months of November through to December.

“Kenyans should continue to wear facemasks correctly while in public spaces, apply correct hand hygiene at all times, and adhere with the physical and social distancing guidelines and protocols that have been put in place to safeguard our individual and collective health and safety,” the dispatch from State House said.

Cumulative infections in the country stood at 57,093 Tuesday with 1,039 deaths since March.

The Ministry of Health has attributed the rising numbers to the increased number of political activities- where little or no precautionary measures are observed.

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