AFTER JOHO PUSH

Mass testing reveals spread in Mombasa

Residents initially resisted testing, forcing Governor Hassan Joho to read the riot act to them

In Summary

• Old Town alone had by last week accounted for 300 tests

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho undergoes a test for Covid-19 in Likoni to encourage residents to also get tested
LEADING BY EXAMPLE Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho undergoes a test for Covid-19 in Likoni to encourage residents to also get tested
Image: CHARLES MGHENYI

Mombasa county is closing in on the 500 mark of positive cases of the coronavirus.

With the pandemic reaching Kenya on March 13, it didn’t take long for Mombasa’s first case to be reported on March 18, less than a week later.

With porous borders, entry and exit points, like airports, ferries and ports, it was only a question of when and not if that would happen.

 
 

The challenge would now be how to tackle the virus that threatened to expose the weak health system.

Public Health chief officer Aisha Abubakar said mass testing at Old Town had by last week accounted for 300 tests. Residents initially resisted testing, forcing Governor Hassan Joho to read the riot act to them. 

With the rising numbers at Old Town, the government sealed off all entry and exit points into the historical area as one way of dealing with the challenge of containing the virus.

Aisha said as at last week, testing booths had been increased from one to 11.

“The idea was to phase out the PPE kits, which had at some point created a lot of stigma, instead of giving residents confidence to deal with the medics,” she said.

Mass testing at both KPA and other hotspots of Mombasa continues, while efforts are made to revive the economy.

The tourism and hospitality sector was already reeling from paralysis after years of under-investment, insecurity and competition from other destinations.