Nyanza residents flout Covid rules as infections rise

Minimal behaviour change has been witnessed in Kisumu, Migori, Siaya and Kisii.

In Summary
  • Not many people wear masks, observe social distancing in matatus and in public places or wash their hands regularly as recommended.
  • Governors have embarked on a unified campaign called 'No Mask No Service' to sensitize residents.
Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o
CONCERN: Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o

Despite rising cases of Covid-19 infections at community level in Nyanza counties, residents are still violating government health protocols.

Minimal behaviour change has been witnessed amongst the residents even with officers in Kisumu, Migori, Siaya and Kisii enforcing the measures through arrests.

Not many people wear masks, observe social distancing in matatus and in public places or wash their hands regularly as recommended.


A spot check by the Star in the counties revealed that traders in open markets went on with their business as usual and PSVs carried excess passengers, few of whom wore masks.

In Kisumu last week, 80 people were arrested in a day for flouting the Covid-19 containment protocols. County police commander Ranson Lolmodon put on notice motorists he said were serial offenders.

Governors from the region are emphasizing the need for a new approach in fighting the virus.

They have embarked on a unified campaign called No Mask No Service to sensitize residents.

According to a Kisumu county Covid-19 response biweekly situation report dated November 17, a total of 1,431 cases had been confirmed within the county.

In the report, 144 cases are active, 23 moderate while severe cases were admitted to hospital isolation units. In total, 1,244 cases have been discharged from isolation.

So far 39 deaths have been confirmed. The report indicated that the fatality rate was rising and stood at 3.3 per cent this month.


Out of the cases, a total of 1,418 (99.1 per cent) are from local community transmission with 89.7 per cent are in Kisumu Central, Kisumu East and Kisumu West subcounties.

A total of 90 health care workers have been infected, with two deaths confirmed among them.

The current response objective within the county is to protect the vulnerable groups, reduce the rate of community transmission through targeted test-trace-isolation and improve capacity of health facilities to manage anticipated increase in cases requiring hospitalisation.

The county is also refocusing on strengthening health systems, community engagement and enforcement of containment measures, population stratification for targeted response and targeted testing.

Recently, the Kisumu Covid-19 multi-agency committee issued fresh directives to enforce safety protocols in public transport.

The committee led by Governor Anyang Nyong'o and county commissioner Josephine Ouko directed police to mount an intensive crackdown on public service vehicle operators flouting the Covid-19 safety guidelines by carrying excess passengers.

The committee appealed to Kisumu residents to help the government stop the spread of the disease by observing the safety guidelines.

"Those appearing in public without masks or those not properly worn will face punitive measures in accordance with the Public Health Act. Law enforcers are under strict instructions to take action against such people," the committe said.

Following the sixth summit meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Council of Governors on November 4, Nyong'o said they decided on far-reaching measures against the spread of the virus.

“I would like to appeal to the people of Kisumu county to fully cooperate with the national and county governments in implementing fully these measures to avoid a brush with the law-enforcing officers who are under firm instructions to enforce them,” he said.

In Siaya, according to a daily situation report from county Health department dated November 18, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases was 318. Eight deaths have reported since the beginning of the outbreak .

Cumulative number of recoveries and discharges is 208 out of the total confirmed cases, the report said.

Currently, 72 patients are on home-based isolation, 13 patients at Bondo subcounty hospital and eight patients awaiting assessment and admission.

Twenty of the confirmed cases in the county  had a history of travel (Mombasa four, Nairobi 12, Migori two, Eldoret and Tanzania one case each) while 298 were local transmissions.

A total of 7,215 samples have so far been collected in Siaya for testing.

However despite putting various measures in place to curb the spread, the county is still faced with challenges such as inadequate testing facilities and non-compliance to the laid down measures.

Kisii Public Health director Richard Onkware said the county as of last Friday had reported 25 deaths due to Covid-19.

Onkware said so far a total of 740 people had tested positive for the infection and they county continued to implement government protocols to curb the virus.

“We have been doing monitoring and surveillance to ensure that locals wear masks, sanitize and also observe social distance in places like eateries," he said.

In Migori, county health boss Isca Olouch said as of last week the county had reported a total of 14 deaths with 623 positive cases.

The council of governors on November 19 held a meeting to deliberate on management of the escalating Covid-19 infection cases at community level in counties, the overstretched facilities which risk being overturn in some counties and the overwhelmed and emotionally fatigued frontline workers.

The CoG resolved to undertake rigorous public sensitization campaigns on Covid to enhance civic responsibility.

Edited by Henry Makori