Government bars residents from eating at funerals, visitations

Homa Bay County Commissioner Moses Lilan was addressing journalists in his officer on March 19, 2021. The Government has restrained Homa Bay residents from the tradition of eating in funerals as a measure for reducing Covid-19 infections in the county. (James Omoro, Standard)

Government officials in Homa Bay and Kisii counties have banned residents from eating at funerals.

The residents have also been stopped from visiting bereaved families, in new measures aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.

In Homabay, the directive was issued by County Commissioner Moses Lilan and Governor Cyprian Awiti through the Homa Bay County Emergency Response Committee on Covid-19.

It has been a tradition for members of the Luo community, who are dominant in the county, for mourners to feast in funerals, especially during burial ceremonies.

But on Friday, Lilan who read the joint statement said eating in funerals makes residents susceptible to contracting Covid-19.

“Eating in funerals has been outlawed in this county. We have established that eating in funerals leads to hygiene issues which encourage the spread of coronavirus,” Lilan said.

In the Luo community, it is a norm for an animal has to be slaughtered to feed mourners during burial ceremonies.

“All funerals, cremations and burial ceremonies must be conducted strictly within 72 hours after confirmation of death,” Lilan read.

The ban is expected to be a blow to several residents who participate in feasting ceremonies as they mourn.

Wedding ceremonies or rites will be attended by a maximum of 100 people, the committee ruled.

In Kisii, Governor James Ongwae and County Commissioner Allan Macharia said there will be no visitation to bereaved families.

Ongwae said some people were still ignoring basic measures put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19.

"We are going to be ruthless, we must enforce all the measures that have ben issued by the Ministry of Health and other protocols that were read by President Uhuru Kenyatta."

The Governor issued a warning to proprietors of private morgues who have been keeping bodies beyond 72 hours. 

"I know we have a culture to protected but these are peculiar times that call for extraordinary measures. We will enforce the laws as stipulated by the President. Those who want to have a drink in bars do it before 9 pm."

Kisii has had 33 deaths majority being male aged between the ages 30-39.

The officials said the National Government Administration officials and police will work with the county government enforcement officers to enforce the orders.

Residents were also directed to adhere to other covid-19 protocols such as putting on masks, hand washing, and keeping social distance.

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