Covid-19 summit: Governors recommend return of containment measures

Kenyans may soon have to stay indoors after at 9 pm again if President Uhuru Kenyatta heeds to the advice of the Council of Governors (COG).

The COG through its chair Wycliffe Oparanya (pictured) wants Covid-19 containment measures returned to control the sudden rise in infections.

“Your Excellency, the Council of Governors recommends that all containment protocols be implemented in their original form. We request that the nationwide curfew currently in force be varied from 11 pm to 9 pm,” Oparanya said.

The Kakamega Governor suggested several recommendations to the president during the National and County Government’s Co-ordinating Summit at State House, Nairobi, a meeting set up to offer solutions to the Covid-19 threat.

They covered a range of areas with direct impact to the economy including curfew, economic, recovery, healthcare and containment measures.

Containment measures

The COG wants curfew time reviewed from 11pm to 9pm and ending at 4am, as was the case at the beginning of the pandemic in Kenya.

Oparanya expressed concern over the disregard of Covid-19 protocols that has contributed to the surge in infections in the last one month.

He shone a spot light on the transport, entertainment and retail sectors as areas where Kenyans had mostly let their guard down.

“The political class has continued to be the super spreaders of this virus. This has led to an escalation of Covid-19 cases and the collapse of contact-tracing efforts,” he added.

Governors have also recommended that anyone found flouting the health protocols including politicians be penalised. “County Governments will begin a sensitization campaign ‘No Mask No Service’. Anyone found rendering services to someone not observing the protocols will be found liable,” he said.

Healthcare services at a breaking point

According to Oparanya, health facilities in several counties are headed for their breaking points as workers were overwhelmed.

Patients are lining up for services in their hundreds but with few workers, reduced bed capacity and ventilation machines.

Oparanya said only 12 out of 47 counties had not attained the minimum 300-bed capacity. “Eleven counties have less than five ICU beds in their isolation facilities. This a big challenge.”

At least 1,665 health workers across the country have been infected by the virus, therefore affecting service delivery.

He said county hospitals could no longer admit new patients and many patients were dying en route Nairobi to seek treatment.

Challenges facing health care workers

The governors have also recommended that all health workers have access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), an issue that has been a thorn in the flesh in the fight against the coronavirus.

Sometime in August, doctors in Homa Bay and Embu counties had gone on strike over delayed salary payments, lack of promotions, missing medical insurance and lack of PPEs.

“I request Governors to boost the morale of Health Workers by considering an additional three-month allowance,” he said.

On economic recovery, Oparanya said that Kenya could not get back on its feet without flattening the Covid-19 curve.

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