The government will now extend testing of Covid-19 beyond truck drivers to include all motorists leaving and getting into the country.
This is the latest move by the Mutahi Kagwe-led Health ministry as the Cabinet Secretary embarks on county to county assessment of their level of preparedness.
Yesterday, the CS was in Machakos County where he gave the daily update of the disease that has so far infected 1,161 people after 52 more tested positive.
The 52 are from a sample size of 2,567. So far a total of 55,074 samples have been tested.
Nairobi County led with 23 new cases with Kibra, which the CS highlighted, having eight. In less than a week, cases in Kibra have risen from 24 to 60.
“This is worrying considering the population and further measures need to be taken. We have our scientists on the ground and we will make a decision,” said Kagwe.
The CS, who gave the address while accompanied by Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, noted that the counties along the transistor corridors and borders were among those that should take precaution.
Machakos is one of these as truck drivers do pass through the county on their way to Nairobi and out of the country from Mombasa.
Kagwe noted that Busia County, which is at the border of Kenya and Uganda, was reporting more cases due to its proximity to the border.
In yesterday’s numbers, Busia had seven cases.
“I would like to urge the county government of Busia to be extra vigilant. It is at this border that we have a lot of trucks coming in,” he said.
Kagwe said while the protocol now is that truck drivers have to be tested 48 hours before departure and only leave with a Covid-19 free certificate, this measure will be extended to other motorists as well.
“We are not just testing truck drivers with cargo. Any driver with cargo leaving Mombasa and going out of the country has to be tested,” he said.
He added: “It is you (as a driver) to protect others. If you don’t know you are negative, don’t leave Mombasa.”
Dr Mutua said with the Mombasa-Nairobi highway passing through the county, he had issued instructions that truck drivers do not spend more than 30 minutes break in the area.
“We are also making it mandatory that for you to pass this county as a truck driver you must possess a Covid-19 free certificate. We do not want you to go spread this disease elsewhere,” he said.
Apart from these measures, Mutua also suspended distribution of alcohol.
Kagwe said the government was working closely with counties to equip them to tackle the disease through distribution of Personal Protective Equipment and additional human resource.
He said the country no longer has a shortage of PPE as they are being manufactured locally.
“This is not to say that counties are now safe. As much as we do this, there will always be someone who will go to all means to put other people at risk,” said Kagwe.
He said so far, at least seven healthcare workers in each county have been trained on Covid-19 preparedness. He said the plan was to add 5,000 health care workers to the counties.
“Today we can proudly say we have trained 11,000 healthcare workers,” he said.