• On Tuesday, two siblings from Mandera tested positive for the virus — the first cases to be reported in the region.
• Official says those who will be allowed in will be subjected to thorough screening and testing.
Movement of people across border points in Northeastern will now be restricted to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Addressing the press in his office on Thursday, regional commissioner Nicodemus Ndalana said the county security and intelligence committees are under strict instructions to ensure only deserving cases like the sick seeking healthcare services are allowed in.
He, however, noted those who will be allowed in will be subjected to thorough screening and testing.
“As confirmed by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday, the deadly virus is here. It’s upon us now to ensure that we stop its spread,” Ndalana said.
“If we are not careful and fail to listen to government guidelines then we will have ourselves to blame.”
On Tuesday, two siblings from Mandera tested positive for the virus—the first cases to be reported in the region.
The woman aged 22, who is a student at the Kenya Medical Training College in Kilifi, and her brother, 20, arrived in Mandera on April 1 from Nairobi aboard a Makha bus.
They presented themselves at a private facility after showing flu-like symptoms and fever.
The facility alerted the county’s Covid-19 response team who took them to Mandera County Referral Hospital isolation facility. Their samples were collected and sent to Nairobi the same day.
The regional commissioner warned bus operators and other motorists against using panya routes to access Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties, where movement has been restricted for 21 days to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The regional commissioner was referring to some bus companies ferrying passengers from Garissa to Thika, after which passengers are left to devise their own means of getting to their destination, mostly Nairobi.
He said the consequences for those found would be dire.
Kenya shares borders with Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the east. The three Northeastern counties — Garissa, Wajir and Mandera — both have entry and exit points to Somalia.
Residents from Bula Sufti in Ethiopia and Bula Hawa in Somalia, which are less than 10 kilometres apart, share a lot in common. Apart from doing business together and accessing healthcare in Mandera, most of them have relatives on both sides of the border.
Edited by R.Wamochie