Why counties should borrow a leaf from Nairobi

An aerial view of Kenya's capital city, Nairobi. [Courtesy]

The exponential rise in Covid-19 cases across the country calls for stringent containment measures. 

Many citizens have adopted a cavalier attitude towards the pandemic, which could be responsible for fuelling community spread.

There is evidence that many citizens do not take the threat of Covid-19 seriously enough to religiously follow health protocols outlined by the Government to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Many citizens have confessed to wearing their face masks to escape arrests rather than to keep themselves and those around them safe.

While the police would ordinarily arrest and lock up those flouting regulations, that can only compound the problem in the confined police and court cells. 

There is a need, therefore, for the Government to come up with innovative, yet punitive measures capable of making people see the sense in keeping social distance, wearing face masks, and sanitizing frequently.

Nairobi County leads the way in enforcing compliance to Covid-19 rules through an ingenious way of punishing those who flout them. So far, 57 people found to have flouted the Covid-19 rules were released from the Kilimani Police Station on a community service order that compels them to clean markets and the Nairobi River for a week, nine hours a day. Those who fail to turn up for the work will be re-arrested to face stiffer penalties.

Other counties should emulate Nairobi or come up with similar punitive measures that will help in enforcing compliance. Possible spread agents like matatus that deliberately carry excess passengers in contravention of Covid-19 regulations should equally face stiffer penalties to discourage the unhealthy practice. More importantly, citizens should take the initiative of becoming each other's keepers to stay safe.