Nyanza, Western bear Covid-19 woes as dozens arrested for breaking rules

Covid- Kisumu

Police arrest a man found selling alcohol after curfew hours in Kisumu on March 29, 2020.  

Photo credit: Brian Ongoro | AFP

Dozens, including six police officers, have been arrested for flouting Covid-19 containment measures in 13 counties in Western and Nyanza.

On Saturday, Kakamega reported 79 new Covid-19 cases while Kisii recorded 78.  Migori had 76, Kisumu 72, Busia 69 and Siaya 60.

 A spot check in the regions indicated that residents were still going about their activities without wearing masks or observing social distancing. 

Government directive

Churches adhered to the government directive to remain shut for the next 30 days.

In Kisumu, six police officers were among 12 people arrested on Saturday night at a night club while drinking past curfew hours.

The officers and some civilians reportedly refused to leave the club despite prompting by the management. They had attended a funeral and then went to the club.

Kisumu East Deputy County Commissioner Kibet Boen ordered the arrest of the suspects shortly after 8pm at the Black Pearl Bar and Restaurant at Nyamasaria.

The security guards manning the club, for fear of confrontation, locked them inside and afterwards officers from the nearest police station arrested their colleagues.

Curfew hours

“Yes. We arrested them. We are yet to decide what action we are going to take,” said Mr Anampiu.

In Homa Bay County, police officers have arrested 355 people over the past two days for contravening the containment measures put in place to check the spread of Covid-19 infections.

During a crackdown on Friday and Saturday night, the officers impounded 32 vehicles and 22 motorcycles whose owners were out after 7pm.

County Commissioner Moses Lilan said 173 people who were arrested did not have face masks while 182 others were out at night beyond curfew hours.

Security teams in the 13 counties have intensified patrols, following a review of the containment measures in the 13 counties announced by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Thursday last week.

In Kakamega County, the county executive committee member for Health Services, Dr Collins Matemba, said yesterday that 13 cases had been confirmed with patients admitted at the county hospital.

Three patients — one male and two female — were admitted to the intensive care Unit (ICU).

Two female patients were on ventilators while the rest were on oxygen supply.

Kisumu County received 16,000 new rapid testing kits from the national government and the Pharm Access Foundation to expand the scope of testing.

The county executive for Health Services, Prof Boaz Nyunya, said: “We have enhanced aggressive contract tracing and Follow-ups on those on home-based care to ensure that they adhere to the containment protocols.”

The county has trained two laboratory technologists detailed on Lumira (Covid-19 tests) diagnostics.

“Five new Lumira machines have also been distributed to the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital   (JOOTRH) and the Kisumu County Hospital,” Prof Nyunya said.

“We have expanded the JOOTRH comprehensive covid-19 treatment centre near Kondele to meet the increasing demands,” he added.

Health officials in the region have raised the alarm on the laxity and failure by residents to adhere to the Covid-19 containment protocols.

On Saturday, police arrested suspects in Kakamega, Kisii, Migori and Kisumu.

In Kakamega, 57 people were arrested for flouting the Covid-19 guidelines while 15 others were arrested in Kisii County.

Another 15 were arrested in Kehancha and Isebania towns in Migori County during an operation to enforce the curfew in the region.

Kakamega County Police Commander Hassan Barua said those arrested will be arraigned tomorrow.

Night vigil

In Kisumu City, there was pandemonium after police officers lobbed tear gas canisters in the air to disperse a crowd of people who were still roaming the streets well past curfew hours.

A family in Muhoroni Sub-county was forced to bury the body of a relative in the wee hours of the night after the authorities got wind of their plan to hold a night vigil against the directives put in place by the Ministry of Health.

In most parts of Nyanza and Western, businesses had already closed by 4.30 pm.

Reported by Benson Amadala, Rushdie Oudia, Elizabeth Ojina, George Odiwuor, Ian Byron, Benson Ayienda and Derick Luvega