No hand-shaking, medical staff recalled for virus prep

All public meetings cancelled, matatus washed, disinfected morning and night.

In Summary

• Most counties in the North Rift have recalled medical staff from leave to enforce to enforce coronavirus prevention, including public education.

• Uasin Gishu County announced relocation of bus and matatu parks to decongest Eldoret town CBD,


Uasin Gishu Health Executive Everlyne Rotich in Eldoret after meeeting religious leaders on preenting coronavirus.
VIRUS CONTROL: Uasin Gishu Health Executive Everlyne Rotich in Eldoret after meeeting religious leaders on preenting coronavirus.

Counties in the North Rift have recalled all health officers from leave and intensified public awareness to prevent coronavirus.

On Friday the Health ministry confirmed the first coronavirus case in Kenya – a woman who travelled from the US via London. 

Governor Jackson Mandago, the North Rift Economic Bloc chairman, said all public meetings have been cancelled, including those in hotels; nightclubs have been closed.

Health executives are also meeting with churches, schools and other institutions to discuss how best to enforce control measures announced by the government.

“We have no choice but to enforce the tough measures, so we ensure all Kenyans are safe. We are asking residents in all our counties not to ignore the measures,” Mandago said.

He said although Kenyans have a culture of shaking hands in greeting, this would not be allowed as it is one of the easiest ways of spreading the virus. Mandago said residents have also educated to wash their hands frequently.

Governors Mandago, Alex Tolgos of Elgeyo Marakwet, Stephen Sang of Nandi, Patrick Khaemba of Trans Nzoia and Josphat Nanok of Turkana said hospitals and medical staff are on alert to handle any suspected coronavirus cases.

Moi Referral Hospital CEO Dr Wilson Aruasa said the facility has an isolation ward and staff have been trained on how to handle coronavirus patients.

On Sunday, churches, supermarkets and malls in Eldoret were providing hand sanitisers.

“We are enforcing control measures in urban and rural areas,” Uasin Gishu Health executive Everlyne Rotich said. She met matatu operators to discuss how they will enforce the new measures. 

On Friday, the government ordered all matatus to be washed daily to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The seats must be disinfected in the morning and at night. Drivers and conductors will also undergo training on coronavirus.

Transport CS James Macharia said the Health ministry will conduct training at bus stops.

To help decongest Eldoret town, the Uasin Gishu government announced measures to relocate bus and matatu terminals in town.

The Eldoret main bus stage will be used by matatus to Western Kenya and Nairobi. All matatus from Mosoriot, Kapsabet and Kisumu will terminate at Pioneer along the Kisumu Road.

Matatus plying the Langas, Burnt Forest and Lessos routes will continue to operate from their usual terminus at Sosiani.

A new matatu stage has been established near Unga Limited next to Wagon hotel for all matatus to Munyaka, Kuinet, Ziwa, Junction, Maura, Chepkanga and related routes.

All matatus to Eldama Ravine, Metkei, Nyaru and Flax will have a new stage near Moi Girls High School, though the move to put the matatu stage near the school has been opposed by residents.

Rotich said the county would provide adequate lighting and security for passengers in the evenings and nights at all bus parks.

All matatu saccos leadership agreed to provide water, sanitisers and soap for their passengers. 

(Edited by V. Graham)