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Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga said the infected medical officers include doctors and their interns tested within 24 hours lapsing on Monday/FILE

Capital Health

Nyeri county to restrict urban-rural travel to avert COVID-19 spread

NYERI, Kenya, Mar 31 – Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga Tuesday announced plans to restrict Kenyans from cities including Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu from travelling to the county in a bid to protect elderly people from being infected with coronavirus.

Kahiga said the decision was reached following a county emergency response committee on COVID-19, a global pandemic for which fifty persons have already tested positive in the country, 34 of them being Nairobi residents.

He said travellers from the three cities will undergo mandatory temperature tests at checkpoints before being cleared into the county.

“This idea of Nyerians living in the city coming back home to quarantine in the village is ill-advised.The reason why we do not want them to come is that they will contaminate villages and expose the elderly and their relatives,” said Kahiga.

Although Nyeri County has no confirmed case they are 33 people quarantined for monitoring after they exhibited coronavirus symptoms, he said.

The governor’s decision followed an advisory by the Ministry of Health urging urban populations to avoid travelling to villages where most of the elderly population lives.

The Ministry of Health directive was however issued as a request, the government restraining itself from banning inter-county travel.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe Monday urged those who live in urban areas specifically in Nairobi not to travel to rural areas as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus, especially among the elderly.

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“We are encouraging those who live in Nairobi against travelling upcountry during this period. Statistics show that majority of our elderly live in upcountry and they are likely to be exposed like it happened in Italy by this kind of movements,” Kagwe said.

The CS said Nairobi remains the epicenter of the infections leading with 34 cases, followed by Kilifi with 6, Kitui registered its first case on Monday.

He further urged those in upcountry not to travel to urban areas unless it is necessary and even so, to maintain social distancing at all cost.

“I also call on those who live in upcountry not to come to Nairobi or go to Mombasa unless it is very crucial. Even so, I urge them to maintain the social distancing that we have been talking about,” Kagwe added.

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