NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7 – Several long-distance passengers and motorists were left stranded in Nairobi Tuesday after being barred from transiting through the Nairobi Metropolitan following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive issued on Monday restricting travel into and out of Nairobi for a period of 21 days.
Among those affected are passengers travelling from Kisumu to Mombasa who left the lakeside city Monday morning before the presidential directive was issued, and made it to Nairobi before the dusk-to-dawn curfew Monday evening.
Patrick Omondi told Capital News Beat that he and other passengers arrived at Athi River on Monday at 4 pm but the bus they were traveling on developed mechanical problems and by the time a rescue bus was arriving, road blocks had already been erected.
“This information was sudden and we didn’t have a choice, we understand what the government is doing but we beg that they hear our plea,” he said.
“We slept here it’s about to rain and we are really stranded because some of us we are going to work and have nowhere to go,” another passenger said.
Others like Fanice Aundi asked the government to allow them reach their destinations, lamenting that they learnt of the travel restrictions while they were already on the way.
She was among passengers who were aboard Coast Bus passenger service vehicle heading to Mombasa.
“We heard the news while we were on the way, we can’t go back and we can’t proceed we are pleading with the government to allow us to reach our destinations,” she said.
Machakos County Commander Karanja Muiruri however said the police will enforce the President’s directive in totality by ensuring that no one from Nairobi is allowed entry to or through Machakos with exemption of trucks transporting food items, patients seeking medical attention as well as health workers.
“We are only allowing pass to vehicles carrying essential services like food, medicine and health workers the rest there is no shortcut but to go back to Nairobi. We will not allow corona in Machakos,” said Muiruri.
The situation was replicated to other entry and exit point of Nairobi Metropolitan Area where police officers have erected road blocks.
Others are said to have devised ways such as swimming to get into the restricted areas.
The Ministry of Health declared Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi Counties as high risk areas due to the high number of coronavirus cases traced to the counties prompting the National Emergency Response Committee to restrict travel in and out of the four counties as a measure to contain the spread of the virus.