Chief Justice David Maraga has suspended physical sessions at the Meru Law Courts for 14 days starting Monday as six judicial officers have contracted Covid-19.
CJ Maraga Sunday said all matters will be heard virtually as part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus and protect members of staff, court users, justice sector partners and the general public.
He said the courts will be reopened when Presiding Judge Edward Muriithi gives the go-ahead upon the testing of staff and in consultation with local health officials.
Several advocates and their staff have also tested positive for the coronavirus disease, said CJ Maraga.
On Friday, Justice Muriithi ordered all urgent matters filed by email and pleas requiring physical appearances filed in Githongo and Nkubu.
Last week, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe cited Imenti North, where the court is situated, as one of the Covid-19 hotspots. As a result, the county tightened measures against the virus.
A week ago, Governor Kiraitu Murungi announced that two Meru MPs were among 502 persons in the county who were sick with Covid-19, which has so far killed 26 people in the county.
He said the legislators were infected locally and are out of danger so they are recuperating at home.
Mr Murungi noted that the virus is spreading at a very high rate, with 296 cases reported in the Imenti area.
North Imenti has the highest number of cases followed by South Imenti and Central Imenti, he said, adding 200 cases were spread in the other eight sub-counties.
“Very many people are afflicted by Covid-19 here. Many people are not reporting Covid-19 deaths because the NHIF is not providing covers. To get benefits, people are saying their relatives died of pneumonia and other complications but [Covid-19 is the real killer],” he said.
Imenti North MP Rahim Dawood called for tougher restrictions and collaboration between the county and national governments in the fight against the virus.
Three weeks ago, Meru Level Five Hospital CEO Dr Joseph Wahome said its 15-bed isolation unit, that is reserved for severe cases, is full most of the time, with 75 per cent of the patients on oxygen support.