Mombasa and Kilifi counties have announced a joint Covid-19 response programme to address the escalating cases of the virus in the two counties.
In a virtual meeting between Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi and his Mombasa counterpart Hassan Joho, the two leaders said the surging Covid-19 cases in the two counties should be addressed jointly.
Governor Kingi said the two counties had agreed to come up with a law that will see all defaulters of Covid-19 protocols be tasked with some work to do as a punishment instead of being arrested and charged in courts.
“The culprits will be given manual work to do instead of being arrested and taken to prison where they are likely to infect others with the virus. This will be a lesson that we should all adhere to the Covid-19 protocols,” said Mr Kingi.
The defaulters will be subjected to community punishment like clearing bushes and garbage.
Governor Kingi said due to legal implications, the two county assemblies will need to draft legislation that will ensure there is a legal framework for that to happen.
“There should be a legal framework to make it operational. We need to have our two assemblies work on a legal framework which includes coming up with legislation to address it. We cannot arrest people and confine them to community work if there is no law in place,” he warned.
Both Mombasa and Kilifi attorneys are expected to work out the draft legislation to be sent to the assemblies.
Mr Kingi also said the two counties had banned all sporting activities until the coronavirus is contained.
''In Kilifi, we have banned all football tournaments and I am hopeful that Mombasa County will also do the same as we have agreed,” he said.
Joint effort needed
Governor Joho said Kilifi and Mombasa are inter-related in many ways and that a joint effort is needed to contain the virus.
“Mombasa and Kilifi are brother and sister. We share almost everything. There are people working in Kilifi and living in Mombasa. We also have people living in Kilifi but working in Mombasa. They interact along the road and this is an area we need to focus on,” said Mr Joho.
Governor Kingi warned the public to expect tougher measures to contain the virus if the numbers of people being infected continue to rise.
These will include closing of all open-air markets and secession of movement between the two counties.
Kilifi County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka appealed to the public to continue adhering to the protocols to curb spread of the virus.
He said that already, seven bars have been suspended from operating for flouting the regulations.
Kilifi and Mombasa were among the first counties to record cases of the coronavirus and were put on a lockdown.