You'll not catch Covid-19 at Kisumu AfriCities meet, experts assure

Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong'o is among brand ambassadors for the AfriCities conference in Kisumu next week.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group.

Organisers and health experts in Kisumu are assuring visitors to the lakeside city during the AfriCities conference next week that they will keep them safe from Covid-19.

The sixth wave of the pandemic is expected to peak on May 17, the day the international event will open.

Kisumu will make history as the first intermediary city to host the meeting, which has attracted over 8,000 delegates from various African countries.

Doctors have projected that the new Cvid-19 wave would begin at the end of April, reach its peak around May 17 and decline after June.

A Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) panel of experts said the wave is likely to go for 40 days with milder symptoms compared with earlier ones, with an average of 500 daily infections.

But they have assured city dwellers and delegates attending the conference that they are fully prepared to manage infection spikes.

“The prediction had nothing to do with the forthcoming conference. We are, however, currently prepared for epidemic outbreaks in the region,” said Prof Shem Otoi, a member of the LREB Covid-19 advisory committee.

In order to prevent a spike in Covid-19 cases, every delegate arriving through the Kisumu airport for the major event is expected to present their vaccination certificates to public health officers.

This will also apply to those entering the country in vehicles through the Sirare and Busia border point.

Covid jab

“We have also made the necessary preparations to make available vaccination centres at the entry points where those without certificates will receive the Covid jab on a voluntary basis,” said Prof Otoi.

AfriCities chairman Joe Ager also said that they have made arrangements for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests that will be relaying Covid-19 results within 72 hours.

"We realised that different countries have various challenges when it came to vaccinations so we had to lift vaccination as a condition for being registered," said Mr Ager.

Prof Otoi, the mathematician who engineered the Otoi-Narima Model that predicted the sixth wave of Covid-19, also noted that those who test positive at the point of entry will be directed to already identified hotels for isolation.

The health expert said that the event organisers had identified areas of self-isolation in various hotels in and outside the county.

“Those exempted from vaccinations due to medical conditions will also be required to provide letters from recognised and qualified medical practitioners highlighting reasons why they cannot be vaccinated,” Prof Otoi said.

“The risk of infecting others lies in the movement of the infectious person. Once we limit the interactions of the infected person, we limit the chances of disease transmission.”

For easier tracking of visitors if there is a risk of infections, each participant is required to fill out an allocator form at the point of entry to indicate their location and how they can be reached.

The delegates will also be provided with sanitisers and face masks while the venue will continuously be fumigated and disinfected.

“We would like to reach out to everyone coming to the region either for business, pleasure or leisure to abide by the safety protocols,” said Prof Otoi, who has also urged community members to get vaccinated in order to reduce the risk of severe infections and deaths.


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