IGNORING PROTOCOLS

Lamu bans hugs, handshakes to tame Covid-19 spread

Commissioner also warns against residents' trend of sharing face masks

In Summary
  • Macharia said his office had discovered that only one out of every 10 people in Lamu have been wearing a face mask.
  • He observed that residents are ignoring protocols required to contain the spread of the virus including shaking hands.

The county administration of Lamu has banned hugging and handshakes as a measure of containing the spread of Covid-19 in the region.

Anyone found shaking hands, hugging or flouting any of the prescribed Covid-19 precautions in Lamu shall be arrested and charged.

The warning was issued by Lamu county commissioner Irungu Macharia on Monday.

He observed that residents are ignoring protocols required to contain the spread of the virus including shaking hands, adding that such simple acts can spread the disease.

Macharia said his office had discovered that only one out of every 10 people in Lamu have been wearing a face mask.

He said it had also come to his attention that residents in Lamu island have continued to secretly hold social gatherings among them weddings, parties and even burials without adhering to a single Covid-19 protocol.

Lamu people believe in handshakes and hugs as a way of respectful greetings.

The commissioner however warned that the continued handshakes and hugs were among the many reasons the disease was spreading faster in the region.

“Out of every 10 people you encounter in Lamu, only one has a face mask on. There is a problem here because people are just being outrightly ignorant. They need to realise that its those hugs and handshakes and gatherings that will have them contract this disease. The police have instructions to arrest anyone seen shaking hands or hugging," said Macharia.

The commissioner also raised concern over a growing trend of sharing and exchanging of face masks among residents.

“That is the easiest way one can contract and transmit the virus. We have seen people borrow face masks just to enter government buildings and other premises where the mask is mandatory and thereafter hand it back to the owner once outside. Why are people this careless," he posed said.

Lamu county Health executive Anne Gathoni urged the public to exercise utmost caution to avoid contract the disease.

At least 18 people have succumbed to Covid-19 in the county since the first case was reported in Kenya in Mach last year.

Over 2,000 people have been tested with over 300 confirmed cases.

Last week, Lamu county received 1,500 covid-19 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the national government.

-Edited by Sarah Kanyara