Communities along the Kenya-Tanzania border have been urged to respect the border closure meant to prevent the spread of coronavirus between the two East African states.
Coast Regional Commissioner (RC) John Elungata who toured villages that straddle the border asked the communities to support the public health measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Elungata on Thursday said the border closure was necessitated by the increasing number of imported Covid-19 cases and not meant to punish anyone or undermine cross-border trade.
While on a tour of Shimoni, Vanga, Wasini and Lunga Lunga border towns in Kwale County, Elungata said the border is closed for human traffic to limit cross border spread of the virus.
The administrator said the closure only exempts cargo trucks whose drivers must undergo mandatory Covid-19 tests and only allowed through the border posts when they turn negative.
“Anybody else has no business to attempt to cross the border as long as the closure is in place,” he said while accompanied by Kwale County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo and Regional Immigration Officer Jane Nyandoro.
He asked the border communities to take the Covid-19 pandemic seriously and follow stay at home orders, wear face masks, wash hands regularly with soap and embrace social distancing.
He said the security agencies would deal firmly with people who will resort to using informal and unregulated crossing points to beat the border restrictions.
He advised residents to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary travels as border regions are increasingly becoming covid-19 hotspots.
Elungata said the border restrictions are essential in controlling a pandemic that spreads through the movement of people.
Member of the County Assembly (MCA) for Vanga ward Yusuf Mbwana said border communities are not taking the coronavirus crisis seriously enough.
Mbwana said many people on the Tanzanian side of the border have tested positive and urged the people to take the public health protocols meant to lower the risk of spreading coronavirus seriously.
The MCA expressed disappointments that some residents still do not believe the virus is a significant threat despite the pandemic wreaking havoc on the economy.