Counties urged to help each other handle Covid-19 cases, provide medical care

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Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Bungoma governor Wycliffe Wangamati, Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana in a press briefing
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Bungoma governor Wycliffe Wangamati, Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana in a past press briefing

Counties have been urged to cooperate and help each other to handle any Covid-19 cases, to enhance preparedness, according to Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula. He said this is due to the fact that not all Counties have attained the required directives to tackle the pandemic. He also said the national government should implement proposals by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on the Covid-19 pandemic response, aimed at ensuring the spread of the virus is contained and Counties strengthened in their response.

He noted that Senators have proposed different ideas including supporting hospitals along the Kenya-Uganda corridor to be ready in case of Covid-19 outbreaks. He said he proposed to have efficient testing protocols for truck drivers and travelers traversing through Kenya to other neighbouring nations, “The government was told to ensure that they try as much as possible to ensure truck drivers who come from Mombasa go straight to their designated destinations without conducting many tests. What’s the purpose of the One Stop Border Posts, they are there to ensure when someone is checked in Kenya he doesn’t have to stop again, and that what authorities in Kenya do is agreed upon by their counterparts from the neighboring nation, and access is easier.”

He further raised concern with the traffic jam caused by trucks at Malaba, citing that trucks have formed a queue from Malaba in Busia County, going past Kanduyi in Bungoma. He said the truck drivers’ situation is critical given that the drivers have to watch out for their own safety and also ensure the goods they have reach the destinations safely, while spending days on the road, “There were complaints of traffic snarl ups at different border points by Senators, in Busia, Namanga, Loitokitok, Moyale, and we were told that even after drivers test here, authorities in the neighboring countries insisted they take Covid-19 tests again,” he said, adding that countries in the East African Community should adopt regional health guidelines to make it easier for truck drivers and increase efficiency.

However, the Senator admitted Counties in the Western region aren’t fully equipped to deal with a possible spike in Coronavirus cases, adding that some Counties may not be in a position to attain the 300 isolation beds. He said inter County cooperation should kick in, and Counties help each other to handle Covid-19 patients when need arises.