[PHOTOS] Covid-19: Health ministry fumigates Gikomba and Muthurwa

In Summary

• Temperatures being taken at random.

Street children wash their hands in Gikomba on Saturday, March 21, 2020.
Street children wash their hands in Gikomba on Saturday, March 21, 2020.
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Ministry of Health officials on Saturday fumigated Gikomba and Muthurwa Markets to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Other areas fumigated are tea room and Machakos bus stop.

"We will be taking the temperature of the public at random to identify those with elevated temperatures. Those with temperatures of 38 degrees will have their history taken and if necessary referred for further assessment," Nairobi Health CEC Hitan Majevdia said.

There had been concern Gikomba and other open air markets would be closed, but Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said they would remain open as long as traders observe high levels of cleanliness and social distancing.

Officers from the Ministry of Health lead the exercise from 10am.

At various points at the market, health officials stood at washing points where traders and consumers cleaned their hands with soap and water.

The Ministry of Health team also demonstrated how traders should properly wash their hands with soap and water.

Chairman of the Public Health Council Simon Kimani , urged the traders to observe the basic hygiene measures against Covid-19.

“ The traders had been asking for help and as the government we are here to provide fumigation services. The response is positive and we thank them for cooperating,” he said.

Kimani urged other counties to embark on the fumigation process in crowded places as a preventative measure.

However, some traders who were caught off guard seemed unprepared for the exercise.

Many said the exercise should have happened very early early in the morning before the market opened.

“ I have just arrived and was prepared to open my bale when I saw a group of people moving around. The market is always very busy in the morning hours and they would have come before the market opens,” said Belinda Auma, a trader.

“This process is really distracting our business because we cannot move around until they leave. It is a good initiative but would have been better carried out when the market was closed,” Joseph Mong’are, a trader said.

Muthurwa and Burma markets were also fumigated.

At the same time within the Central Business District ( CBD), Nairobi’s County Public Health Department were conducting an impromptu health check.

Majevdia said the county was undertaking all measures especially in crowded areas to ensure the public is safe.

“The team was checking temperatures from the public who were coming voluntarily and the cooperation was very pleasant. It shows they were also taking measures to prevent themselves against Covid-19,” he said.

Another team was also stationed at the railway station designated stage

Hitan further said sensitisation was ongoing across all the 85 wards where the 215 health officers are educating locals on how to keep safe as the country fights coronavirus.

Fumigation in Nairobi kicked off on Thursday at the CBD and is to be a continuous process.

Kenya has seven Covid-19 cases; six Kenyans and a Burundian.

 

Kagwe on Friday announced a raft of new measures to contain the disease.

He urged PSV operators to carry less passengers in the fight against the coronavirus.

"Fourteen seater matatus should carry eight passengers only," he said.

Kagwe said 25 seater PSVS should carry 15 passengers only.

A thirty-seater matatu and above should maintain 60 per cent seating capacity.

 This also applies to the Standard Gauge Railway.   

Kagwe said this is effective beginning Monday, March 23, 2020.

 
 

But he noted that the issues of fares going up is still under discussion with the transport sector.