The government has moved to restrict the movement of people along its borders in Northern Kenya in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kenya shares borders with Ethiopia From Northeastern and Somalia from the East. The three counties of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera both have entry and exit points to Somalia.
Residents from Bula Sufti in Ethiopia and Bula Hawa in Somalia that is less than 10kms away share a lot in common, apart from doing business together and accessing healthcare in Mandera, most of them have relatives on both sides, this sees them move in and out freely to come and do business.
Speaking to the press in his office, Northeastern Regional Commissioner Nicodemus Ndalana said that the regional and county security and intelligence committees were under strict instructions to ensure that only deserving cases like the sick who want to access healthcare in the county are allowed in.
He, however, said that even then they will only be allowed after being subjected to thorough screening and going through all the measures that have been put in place by the government including sanitizing and hand washing.
“As was confirmed by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday, the deadly virus is here with us. it is upon us now to ensure that we stop its spread. If we are not careful and fail to listen to government directives then we will have ourselves to blame,” he said.
Ndalana further ordered bus operators and other motorists to stop ‘the monkey business’ of using ‘panya routes’ to access the counties of Nairobi, Kilifi and Mombasa where movement in and out have been stopped for 21 days.
He was referring to some bus companies which have taking passengers to from Garissa to Thika, after which passengers are left to device their own means of getting to their destination, mostly in Nairobi.
He said the consequences for those arrested doing so would be dire noting that the best thing to do would will to cooperate and follow government directives.
On Tuesday, two siblings from Mandera tested positive for the virus, the first case to be reported in the county and region.
The two a woman,22 and a student at the Kenya Medical Training College in Kilifi and her brother,20, arrived in Mandera on April 1 from Nairobi aboard the Makka bus.
The duo travelled on March 31, before that, they had been in Malindi and Kilifi.
They presented themselves in a private facility after showing flu-like symptoms and fever two days ago.
The facility alerted the county’s COVID -19 response team who took them to Mandera County Referral Hospital isolation facility.
Samples were collected and sent to Nairobi the same day, they were confirmed positive.