Mombasa County faces a risk of a lockdown should the residents continue to disregard the Covid-19 guidelines, Governor Hassan Joho has warned.
The County Covid-19 Response Committee has maintained that it might be necessary to escalate the Covid-19 restrictions, due to the rising cases witnessed in April, to tame the spread of the virus if the residents continue to disregard the measures put.
Speaking while addressing the press at his office on Thursday, Governor Joho said that the county has recorded at least 752 new cases as of April 21, 10 people shy from March, which stood at 762.
« In this Covid-19 fight, it is not government versus the public. We have done well but we are at a point where if we don’t take precaution, we will erode all the gains we have made in the last few months. For us to be able to defeat the virus, there are things the government can do and those that the public needs to do. Don’t think that by evading the regulations, you are smart… it is not a success story, » Mr Joho warned.
He noted that it was not easy to have a conversation with National Government that Mombasa County stays open as it is doing today.
« I want to appeal to everyone, it is not a heroic move not to follow the Covid-19 regulations. We were able to stay open because many of us were observing the guidelines. We don’t want to get to a point where we are forced to make those extremely hard decisions of closing down places or looking at the cessation of movement being implemented, » he said.
He cautioned politicians against politicizing the fight against the pandemic using the Likoni floating bridge as they had sufficient time to consult.
« Criticize anything you want but politicize the battle against Covid-19. The decision to use the floating bridge, was the collective decision by different stakeholders, to ease congestion from the ferry at the Likoni Channel and those making noise had time to make their complaints but did not do so, » Governor Joho explained.
The Governor also added that the county has had to put up an oxygen plant at the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital to sustain the rising demand.
« We have had to put up our own oxygen plant, but right now we are depending on supplies from every other source that we can. Even with these numbers, I can tell you that it is a struggle. What will happen if we have a spike in Covid-19 cases? » he posed.
Due to the rising cases, the county health the department has been forced to repurpose the Tudor Sub-County Hospital as an isolation unit to cope.
He said the county is working on cushioning some of the businesses in the hospitality industry with the suspension of some of the fees charged like the bed levy and waiver on liquor licenses for 2020.
Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo and the vice-chairman of the committee expressed worry due to the rising numbers.
« We have witnessed an upsurge of Covid-19 cases in the county, and we are worried that if we don’t take measures, we will go back to what we had last year. In the last 24 hours, we have had 67 confirmed cases of Covid-19, » Mr Kitiyo said.
Mr Kitiyo said there will be a need to revisit containment measures to deescalate the numbers. Since the residents have breached putting on the face masks, social distancing which he noted was rampant in places of worship and public transport systems.
« In most places of worship, there are excesses. People are filling churches and mosques. We should not use the month of Ramadhan as an excuse to contravene the Covid-19 protocols. Should the worst come to the worst we will prohibit some of these gatherings like it has been done in Kiambu, Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado and Nakuru, » Mr Kitiyo said.
On the floating bridge, Mr Kitiyo said it was meant to decongest the ferry during peak hours and up to this time it was working very effectively.
He appealed to the public to continue using the floating bridge and dismissed the claims of insecurity along the bridge as propaganda.
The County has recorded a total of 135, 068 cumulative tests so far.
As of Thursday, a total of 19, 093 received Covid-19 vaccination, Health care workers (3, 694), Security (1, 149), Teachers (2, 319) and others (11, 931).
Since March 22, 2020 when the first case was confirmed in Mombasa County, a total of 10, 469 confirmed cases and 202 deaths (case fatality rate of 1.94 per cent) have been line-listed. Of these, 10, 325 cases (98.6 per cent) were local transmissions and 453 (1.4 per cent) are imported cases.