NAIROBI—Eight more people have tested positive for Coronavirus in Mandera as national tally of people infected by the pandemic hit 303.
The surging number in Mandera is blamed on late tracing of individuals who contacted the initial two siblings from Kilifi. The two traveled from Kilifi, Nairobi to Mandera aboard a passenger of bus for more than 16 hours.
“This latest two cases are urban refugees,” Mutahi Kagwe said on Wednesday during his daily briefing from Afya House in Nairobi.
“Since Mandera County occurs on border of three countries and as a measure to contain further transportation of the infections from elsewhere, the government today listed Mandera as among four other where cessation of movement is prohibited,” Kagwe noted.
Earlier, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Coordinations, Fred Matiang’i has declared cessation of movement into and out of Mandera county from 7Pm on Wednesday.
Matiang’i said the decision was reached after the county recorded increased cases of Coronavirus.
“Following the increase in community-based COVID-19 infections in Mandera County, the Govt has sanctioned the following;
That there be cessation of movement by air and road INTO and OUT OF Mandera County for an initial period of 21 days, commencing 7pm today – 22nd April,2020,” Matiang’i said in statement on Twitter.
Mandera County joins Kilifi, Nairobi Metropolitan, Mombasa and Kwale which also have cessation of movement orders in place.
Recently, 32 people who were in mandatory quarantine at a facility in Elwak in Mandera county escaped under unclear circumstances.
The 32 were out of 66 passengers placed in quarantine after travelling from Nairobi last Wednesday.
The days ago, a bus that traveled from Nairobi enroute to Mandera was intercepted by a security team on patrol. The bus was ferrying 61 passengers, according to County Commissioner Onesmus Kytha.
The Makkah Bus driver was arrested for defying President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cessation of movement directive.
President Kenyatta banned movement into and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties, where the majority of cases of the deadly coronavirus have been reported.
“The (Makka bus) was intercepted at Elwak town in Mandera South after arriving at about 8pm on Friday,” Kytha said.
The defiance trip came barely a day after Mandera Governor, Ali Roba ordered for a lockdown following confirmation of two positive cases of the Coronavirus. At least 30 people have been isolated for their contact with the two victims.
“All 61 passengers who travelled in that bus were quarantined in Elwak at their own expense for 14 days,” Kytha said.
Meanwhile, traders and residents of Mandera town are worried lot after leaders in neighboring counties stopped free-flow of people, particularly from Mandera, to cross into their jurisdiction over fears of potential spread of the Covid-19 following two confirmed cases earlier this week.
The news comes as Isiolo Emergency Response Team on Saturday ordered indefinite closure of the county’s border points with Wajir and Garissa at Modogashe and Malkagalla to curb spread of coronavirus following confirmation of two cases in Mandera County, the Nation reported.
The directive comes barely two days after the county Marsabit took similar decision that has already shut its borders with Mandera for 21 days in efforts to stop movement in and out of the two counties.
“In efforts to stem coronavirus spread, we have ordered immediate closure of the border points to prevent people, vehicles and motorcycles from northern counties from passing through our county,” said Isiolo County governor, Mohamed Kuti who co-chairs the Covid-19 committee with County Commissioner Herman Shambi.
“Those transporting foodstuffs must, however, be subjected to temperature checks at the roadblocks that will be mounted within the border points before they are allowed in,” Kuti added.
There are fears that the virus spreading to Lower Eastern region due to its proximity to Mandera which continues to trace about 100 people who came into contact with the two patients admitted at Mandera Referral Hospital.
It’s reported that the victims initially travelled from Kilifi county via Nairobi on the 1st of April and spent a night at leheley town, a 10-minute drive from Wajir town.
They also had their breakfast at a hotel in Wajir before proceeding to Mandera on the 2nd of April.Meanwhile, Public health promotion officers and Kenya Redcross conducts a sensitization activity at Wajir military base on COVID-19