NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10 – National Community Based Organizations President Tom Aosa has criticized Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe’s strategy on the containment of COVID-19, a pandemic that has claimed 30 lives in the country and infected 649 people country, as inadequate calling for radical reforms to contain the virus amid anxiety over subdued economic activity.
Aosa, in an interview with Capital FM News on Sunday noted prolonged restrictions on movement were taking a toll on businesses, hence the need for decisive action to contain the virus within the shortest period possible.
According Aosa, the Ministry of Health missed the moment when the country was ripe for a total lockdown during the early stages of the pandemic, a period during which he said coronavirus would have been easily contained.
“When the first cases were recorded in Kenya, streets were deserted people were scared of even going to public places and started to lock themselves in. They were even asking the government to lock the country but nobody listened to them, maybe if we did that we couldn’t be in this situation,” stated.
He said that locking the country during the initial period would have given the government an opportunity to carry out mass tests which would guide health authorities in mapping out hotspots.
Aoso said tests conducted so far were to few to point an accurate picture of the COVID-19 situation in the country.
“Only 30,000 tests have been carried out in a country with a population of 47 million people,” he pointed out.
Aosa further accused the Ministry of Health of enforcing quarantine guidelines as a form of punishment, citing incidents where those placed under quarantine have been asked to foot their own bills with those arrested flouting dusk-to-dawn curfew guidelines being forced into isolation facilities with little regard to safety protocols.
He argued the management of the pandemic by the ministry has instilled fear among members of the public who are now shunning mass testing amid a surge in community infections.
“The Minister started off on the wrong foot. He scared away people such that if a family was found with a positive case other family members would run away and spread this virus to other places, so he is the one responsible for the mass spread,” he stated.
Aosa also called for safe re-opening of the economy saying that Kenya is a young economy and government should devise ways of battling the virus while Kenyans go on about their businesses.
He said it’s time the country learnt on how to ‘live with the virus’.
“Let’s assume it takes until next year to contain the spread of the virus, will we sit and wait? I think the government should consider reopening the economy but of course with safety measures in place,” Aosa said.