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Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Mercy Mwangangi/FILE/MOH

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Govt set to impose tough measures after spike in COVID-19 cases at border points

NAIROBI, Kenya May 14 – The government says it is considering imposing tough measures at the border points following high cases of COVID-19, particularly at the border town of Namanga which is the main gateway to Tanzania.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Mercy Mwangangi said talks between the East Africa Community member states were in top gear on enhancing surveillance at the borders.

More than 30 truck drivers have been turned away at the border since Tuesday, after testing positive for coronavirus.

On Thursday, four truck drivers were among 21 new infections that raised the total in the country to 758. Fatalities in the country also rose to 42 Thursday after two more patients succumbed.

“We are aware that many Kenyans have been voicing concerns regarding these emerging trends at our borders. We wish to inform you that as members of the East African Community we are in constant discussion with member states on how best this matter can be handled for the safety and well-being of our communities,” she said.

She revealed that if the situation worsens in the coming days, the government will resort to imposing stricter measures to curb cross border infections.

Truck drivers from either side are now required to produce a COVID-19 test certificate showing their status before they are allowed to proceed for their journeys.

“The National Emergency and Response Committee is closely monitoring this situation and we will be able to escalate any measure that will be required,” she said.

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Mwangagi urged Kenyans especially those living near the border points to be vigilant and report any suspicious cases or people trying to sneak into the country.

“We do appeal to our communities living within and around our border counties to actively exercise the nyumba kumi community policing. We should be vigilant and we should report any suspicious individuals who may use panya routes to get into the country,” she said.

On Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta held a virtual meeting with his counterparts from Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan–all committing to intensify intervention measures.

“A unified stand is what we need to combat this pandemic in the region,” President Kenyatta told the leaders, adding that contact tracing had helped Kenya to isolate and treat those infected by the virus.

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