Bomet County shuts markets in bid to tame Covid-19 spread
By Gilbert Kimutai
| August 6th 2020
Open-air markets in Bomet have been closed indefinitely in an effort to contain rising cases of coronavirus.
Announcing the closure, Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok said the move will help stop crowding and minimise community spread of the virus.
Barchok said while the county’s revenue will be hurt, the decision will help save many lives.
“The move will hurt the economy of the county but we want to protect the lives that are at risk due to community spread of the virus which is taking root,” he said.
Some of the markets which have been affected include Kapkwen, Chebunyo, Mulot, Silibwet and Kapkoros.
Cattle auctions have also been shut leaving traders stranded.
The re-opening of the various sectors of the economy announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta last month had seen the markets return to normalcy.
Following the market closure, the county is set to lose more than Sh500,000 weekly in revenues.
The Governor however defended the move saying it was nearly impossible to enforce social distancing during the market days.
“We found that there those attending these markets are not observing laid-down protocols and infections would be erosive,” said Barchok.
He at the same time raised concerns over failure by local matatu operators to observe social distancing.
Barchok asked security agencies to use force in enforcing Coronavirus rules.
“There is need to act tough so that local operators can carry the required number of passengers and avoid exposing those travelling to the risk of contracting the virus,” he added.
He termed the sector 'a headache' in the fight against the virus.
A total of 37 positive cases have been reported in Bomet County and three deaths.
According to Medical Services and Public Health CEC Joseph Sitonik, 10 health workers have contracted the virus in the line of duty.
Sitonik said at least 200 contacts are being monitored and awaiting tests, saying they expect more people to turn positive.
The CEC said with most cases in the county being asymptomatic, the patients have been put under home-based care except two who have underlying conditions.
Sitonik said the County had prepared a 200-bed capacity Covid-19 isolation centre in Konoin.
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