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ajir governor blames porous border for virus infections

Wednesday May 6, 2020

CONCERN: Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi speaks to the press outside his office on Wednesday, May 6, 2020
CONCERN: Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi speaks to the press outside his office on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi on Wednesday said the long porous border with Somalia posed the biggest challenge in the fight against coronavirus.

The government closed the border but residents who are mostly livestock herders and traders cross over and back often, thereby increasing chances of contracting the virus and infecting others.

On Tuesday, five more people tested positive for the virus bringing the total to seven in Wajir county.

The new cases are persons who traveled back from Mogadishu, Somalia, on a livestock trade trip. Somalia has overtaken Kenya in the last few days in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Speaking to the press outside his office, Governor Abdi said there was a need for heightened surveillance over the border towns with emphasis on Diif and Dadajabula.

“I want to sincerely thank police officers who have been working closely with our public health officers. Their efforts have borne fruit since we have continued to intercept more individuals sneaking back into the country and the contacts of the earlier ones. We currently have 31 of them quarantined at Wajir KMTC, Diif, Habaswein and Dadajabula centres,” Abdi said.

Abdi was flanked by county commissioner Jacob Narengo and health officials led by executive Ismail Sheikh.

He said the authorities were closely working with their counterparts in Somalia on strengthening cross-border coordination and information sharing between Diff Kenya and Diff Somalia.

He said the order to close all the livestock market still stood and warned anyone found breaking the law of dire consequences.

He urged Kenyans to continue showing unity and strength during the pandemic, saying it is at moments like these that the country needs to stick together.

He  expressed his concern at the huge number of those in need of assistance, especially the rural residents who are now selling their animals at low prices.

Narengo said the war against the pandemic would only be won if residents fully complied with the health regulations.

“Our people need to stop this culture of defiance where they want to be policed every time. The earlier we know the disease is here with us and only discipline will save us the better,” the administrator said.


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