Kisumu is set to host this year’s Madaraka Day celebrations despite a spike in Covid-19 cases in the Lake region. The event will be held at the newly built Jomo Kenyatta Stadium which has a 35,000 seating capacity.
Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, who visited the venue on Thursday with several PSs and Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, said only 3,000 guests had been invited to the event due to Covid-19.
Like last year, the event will be only open to invited guests. The refurbished stadium had its capacity increased from 25,000 to 35,000. This includes four VIP holding rooms.
The country suspended all the public gatherings in March to curb further spread of the virus which has claimed more than 3,000 lives.
“In keeping with the Covid-19 measures, those invited to attend Madaraka Day event will be expected to wear masks, sanitise and keep social distance,” said the PS.
Interior PS Karanja Kibicho said that some of the usual activities carried out during the celebrations might be omitted.
Mr Kibicho, who is the National Celebrations Committee chairman said: “We will hold the celebrations at the stadium, we have also identified several areas where people will gather to follow the celebrations virtually.'”
He added: “We have lined up a number of entertainment activities for those who will attend the celebrations.”
On Tuesday, Kisumu for the first time, recorded 102 Covid-19 positive cases. Nairobi came second with 77 cases.
Two weeks ago, acting Health Director-General Patrick Amoth revealed that five cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19 were detected in the county.
The cases were detected following gene sequencing carried out on samples taken to the national government testing laboratories.
“We picked this from a sample of Indian travellers who are doing some work in the western part of Kisumu. We have gone ahead together with the Kisumu county health team to do contact tracing,” he said.
Kisumu Governor on Wednesday warned that the Covid-19 crisis could worsen if residents lower their guard in the fight against the virus.
He said some residents had thrown caution to the wind, thus putting lives at risk.
The governor said county health facilities were already getting overwhelmed by the surging numbers. He said Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital was already full and could no longer admit more Covid-19 patients.