Governors propose lockdown in 10 counties to curb spread of Covid-19

ODM Party leader Raila Odinga as he waved to his supporters at Kondele on his way from Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium for Madaraka day celebrations.[Mumo Munuve,Standard]

Governors from the Lake Region Economic Bloc Governors (LREB) have proposed a lockdown in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The proposed circuit breaker in the form of a lockdown is to map the disease zone in the region that has been grappling with devastating Covid-19 cases in the last few days.

In a strategy to limit the movement of persons while taking into consideration the need to maintain economic activity, the lockdown is to cover counties neigbouring Kisumu and those along the Uganda and Tanzania borders.

They are Kisii, Nyamira, Siaya, Kakamega, Kericho, Migori, Busia, Nandi, Vihiga and Bungoma.

It is this region that is currently trying to stop the Delta coronavirus renamed from an Indian variant that doubles the risk of hospitalisation compared to other variants from spreading.

 In the report signed by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya who teams up as the region’s chairman, the region has in the recent past been experiencing insufficient compliance and enforcement of Covid-19 public health measures especially in funerals, bars, religious gatherings, matatus and markets.

There have also been long queues of trucks at Busia, Malaba, and Migori border posts awaiting testing of drivers.

“LREB Governors will hold an immediate in-house meeting for a concrete regional plan to fight Covid-19 in a joint manner. There will be weekly strategy and reporting meetings to be attended by governors and LREB secretariat. The Chanjo system will be enhanced to improve on the backlog for better accuracy on tracking of vaccinations,” Oparanya said.

The development comes after the leaders had an emergency virtual meeting with the LREB County Executive Committee members and Chief Officers Health, representatives of the Ministry of Health, representatives of the LREB Covid-19 Committee of Eminent persons and representatives of the Council of Governors.

The meeting aimed at assessing the current Covid-19 situation in the lake region and its environs.

The County Chiefs called for the adoption of rapid testing which is more cost-effective to improve case detection and focus on the border and hotspot counties.

Also there is a proposal for the decentralisation of the testing, enforcement of public health measures, upscaling of risk communication and information through various media and upscaling of contact tracing and community surveillance.

Participants in the meeting noted the exponential rise of Covid-19 cases in the LREB region with unnecessary deaths and non-commensurate ability to cope in terms of resources.

Political leaders and medical experts have in the past few weeks noted financial challenges, with some unclear information on the financial and material support from the national level and the inadequate human resources with the fatigue of those on duty.

A report seen by The Standard indicates that there will be the promotion of inter-county cushioning and sharing of resources and services in a coordinated manner aimed at easing management of Covid-19 in hospitals and communities.

“Active case finding and admissions of cases to stem the highly transmissible prevalent Delta strain within the LREB region, operationalisation of the health infrastructure such as ICUs, coordination and optimisation of specialised skills and services will be enhanced,” read part of the report.

Frontline staff in the fight will be supported with resources and psycho-social support and will be supplemented with student nurses.

The report further indicates that Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), human resource for health, testing machines and kits, isolation beds, oxygen both liquid and pressure swing adsorption, ICU equipment, body bags and an integrated online data system form part of urgent requirements for the region.

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