THIRD WAVE

Funerals, markets, boda bodas top Covid spreaders in Nyanza

Clubs in major towns are also allegedly sneaking in revellers after hours

In Summary

• Residents also crowd bars in Kisumu, Bondo, Siaya, Kisii, Homa Bay and Migori. 

• Funerals are attended by more than the maximum 100 people allowed by the government. 

Boda boda operators at work.
Boda boda operators at work.
Image: FILE

The transport sector, entertainment joints, markets and funerals are the Covid-19 supper spreaders in Nyanza counties.

Officials at the Covid-19 response team said matatu and boda boda operators were violating control measures with impunity.

Clubs in major towns are also allegedly sneaking in revellers after hours and locking them in to party late into the night. Residents also crowd bars in Kisumu, Bondo, Siaya, Kisii, Homa Bay and Migori. 

Funerals are attended by more than the maximum 100 people allowed by the government. 

Nyanza regional commissioner Magu Mutindika on Monday said security agencies have firm instructions to crack down on violators of the guidelines.

Police raided several clubs within Kisumu City last Friday and arrested 138 revellers. They are expected in court on Tuesday. 

“The raids will be intensified until total compliance is achieved in the Nyanza region. We will not relent on this war. As a region we must win this battle,” he said.

Kisumu county director of health Dr Fred Oluoch said bar operators were notorious violators of the containment measures.

“Some of the operators even keep people inside during curfew hours; some were arrested and will be arraigned on Tuesday,” he said.

He said PSVs are also carrying excess passengers, especially at night when traffic police are not on the roads.

“The churches are compliant. However, the markets leadership needs to take control,” he said. 

Oluoch said if users cannot comply with social distancing rules, then a ban on market days might be imposed to contain the coronavirus. 

Covid-19 cases have risen in Kisumu recently, with 67 people dying since March last year. 

Last week, a county health worker died from Covid-19 complications. The staffer had facilitated a training workshop in Kisumu between March 9 and 10.

The Star has established that some Kisumu medics are recuperating from Covid-19 complications. 

Dr Oluoch asked the police to enforce the one pillion passenger rule for boda boda operators, both in urban and rural areas.

In Kisii, a task force has been established to ensure measures against Covid-19 are enforced.

Kisii public health director Richard Onkware said matatu operators were playing cat and mouse games with the members of the task force that includes the police.

“They still carry excess passengers but drop them before getting to the police checks. The task force has recommended to the police to carry out random crackdowns along the highways,” he said.

Onkware said by Thursday last week the county had vaccinated 3,900 workers as part of the efforts to battle Covid-19.

In Siaya, most markets teem with traders and customers without face masks. Chief officer for Health Dr Eunice Fwaya said the county had by Sunday reported 682 cases from 12,102 samples collected since March last year. Nineteen people have died with Covid-19.

Dr Fwaya said six patients are admitted to the county's Covid-19 isolation unit for treatment.

“We have 55 cases in home-based isolation. So far we have vaccinated a total of  5,124 people,” she said.

 

(edited by o. owino)