Cautious officials shut offices in Embu, Isiolo as Covid-19 cases increase

Offices at the Isiolo County Assembly building.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu | Nation Media Group

All operations at the Mbeere South Land Control Board offices in Embu County were on Friday suspended following cases of Covid-19 in the area.

This followed advice by public health officers who announced that 9 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Mbeere South Sub-County.

According to area Deputy County Commissioner Charles Igiha, the decision was taken as a precautionary measure.

However, he said that none of the board's staff had tested positive for the disease.

"The board's staff are safe and there is no cause for alarm," he told the Nation.

Already, public health officers have embarked on contact tracing.

"The officers are looking for people who came into contact with the sick ones so that they can be isolated for testing," he added.

The DCC said the board offices will remain closed until further notice and told the residents to be patient.

"Residents from all corners of the sub-county come here for various services and we don't want to risk their lives," Mr Igiha said.

"Residents should wear masks, sanitise and observe distancing to avoid contracting the disease," he added.

Risk arrest, prosecution

He warned that anyone found flouting Covid-19 preventive measures will be arrested and prosecuted.

"Those who don't observe measures put in place to contain the disease will not be spared," he warned.

In Isiolo, the County Assembly offices have been closed for 14 days after some members of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

The decision to suspend operations was announced by County Assembly Clerk Salad Boru after a plenary sitting by the House Services Board on Thursday evening.

The closure of the offices at the building adjacent to Huduma Centre, where Governor Mohamed Kuti operates from, will allow room for fumigation to be undertaken starting from Friday.

Assembly staff experiencing symptoms similar to those of coronavirus have been asked to self-isolate and seek medical attention. Members of staff have also been asked to co-operate with health officials in contact tracing.

While the memo did not give the number of affected workers, a source at the office told the Nation that two people had tested positive.

“Following confirmed cases of Covid-19 in our county assembly, the services board has recommended that all operations be suspended for 14 days with immediate effect,” the memo read in part.

The ongoing construction of a modern assembly building has also been stopped.

A response team of three people has been formed to coordinate interventions and will be overseen by MCAs Idd Hassan and David Lemantile, the Assembly Health Committee Chair and Deputy Speaker respectively.

Delay legislation

The new development will delay crucial bills and policies on water, livestock and rangelands whose tabling had been scheduled for the coming week.

This comes a few days after the county secretary office was temporarily closed after three staff tested positive and a nurse who worked at the Referral Hospital succumbed to the virus.

The asthmatic nurse died while being taken to Nairobi for ventilator services after developing breathing difficulties while working at the facility.

Samples for employees at the county secretary office have already been taken to Nairobi for testing.

Isiolo is currently witnessing a surge in infections with at least 40 cases reported in less than a week.

Nominated MCA Sumeya Bishar warned residents against dropping their guard.

Our people should strictly observe the guidelines on hygiene and social distancing because the current reported cases are worrying,” said Ms Bishar.

The legislator asked the government to conduct mass coronavirus testing in an effort to prevent further spread of the disease.

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