The Makueni County Government plans to re-open markets that were suspended indefinitely in March as a precautionary measure against COVID 19 pandemic.
Governor Prof. Kivutha Kibwana said the County Emergency Response Committee is in the process of developing guidelines to reopen markets in phases.
Kivutha said the committee was cognizant of the economic challenges facing the residents due to the pandemic and urged traders to co-operate for the exercise to succeed.
“We are asking the traders not open now but wait for the guidelines, we know it has taken a long time but people need to be careful,” said the Governor.
Addressing the press outside his office in Wote town Thursday, Kivutha urged hotels and restaurants to operate within the guidelines given by the Ministry of Health, failure to which their licenses will be revoked permanently.
“Those flouting the directives will be arrested and charged. This is a matter of public interest, which is for our common good,” added Kivutha.
The governor also disclosed that 23 people from Makueni had succumbed to Covid-19 and urged members of the public to continue observing the government protocols to curb the pandemic.
He also noted that the county has 13 active coronavirus cases being treated at the Makindu Kenya Medical Training Centre (KMTC) while 31 people were currently under quarantine.
He reiterated the county government’s commitment in supporting health care workers in the frontline of fighting the pandemic through provision of adequate Person Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other essentials required to fight the virus.
“We are also engaging the national government to address the remuneration challenges that have been caused by the budget stalemate,” said the governor.
On preparedness and response to the pandemic, Kivutha said his government had set up 321 isolation beds while 20 schools had been identified as quarantine facilities.
“We have 28 High Dependency Unit (HDU) beds and two Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds fitted with oxygen at the Makindu KMTC and the Covid-19 treatment center at the Makueni County Referral Hospital,” said the governor.
Speaking at the same briefing, County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed called on Public Transport Vehicles (PSVs) operators to adhere to the guidelines given by the government.
Mohammed said drivers of PSVs will be required to have a Covid-19 clearance certificate for them to ferry passengers.
“No vehicle will be allowed to operate without a thermos gun to check temperatures. Excess passengers will not also be allowed,” he said.
The county commissioner warned those flouting the directives given by the government that they risked being arrested and prosecuted.
“We have so far impounded several vehicles and arrested 151 revelers for flouting the directives, they have been released on cash bail and will be taken to court once normalcy returns,” he said.
Maalim also warned against laxity, saying enforcement of the directives will be heightened.