NAIROBI, Kenya May 13 – The Council of Governors (CoG) says it will push for the continuous lifting of the lockdown measures imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 so as to spur economic growth.
Speaking on Wednesday during the weekly briefing on the Coronavirus, CoG Chairman Embu Governor Martin Wambora said they have noted the negative effect the restrictions have had on the economy.
“Going forward we shall prevail with our partners in the National Government to go easy on this locking down of the counties. Because we have seen the impact in terms of economies going to ruins. As much as possible we shall really avoid lockdowns so that we focus on preventative measures,” he said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted a partial lockdown imposed on five counties on May 1, when the countries showed signs of slowing the COVID-19 curve after a positivity rate of more than 20 per cent in March.
Wambora said that the counties have in the past one week made significant strides to contain the virus, and urged for more adherence to the Health Ministry protocols.
“Isolation beds have increased by 313 after some patients recovered from the disease, while ICU and HDU beds have increased by 78 and 22 respectively,” the CoG Chairman said.
For instance the total number of available beds in isolation centres increased by 300 to 6,032 while there was a marked reduction in the number of High Dependency Unit (HDU) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admissions.
Wambora noted that public transport continues to be a serious challenge in the prevention of the spread of the virus warning that County Governments will continue to enforce adherence to the number of passengers in Public Service Vehicles (PSVs).
The Embu Governor said they have put up various measures to safeguard learners, teachers and support staff from the virus.
“1.1 million facemasks have been distributed to learners and trainees in ECDE Centers and Vocational Training Centers while 9,431 hand washing stations have been set up in strategic positions within learning institutions,” Wambora stated.
He said additional classrooms have also been built to enhance social distancing adding that there will be frequent fumigation of common areas to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
On funding to Counties, the Governors urged the National Treasury to expedite the release of Sh66 billion before the current financial year lapses at the end of June.
“As at Monday May 10, the Treasury had only released Sh4.6 billion to County Governments. In terms of distribution, Nairobi County is owed Sh2.6 billion for the month of December and January while another 22 Counties are owed a cumulative Sh1billion for the month of February. Additionally, Sh25 billion is owed to the 47 Counties for the month of March as well another Sh28 billion for the month of April,” Wambora explained.
He said the counties need the funds to enhance their response measure towards the COVID-19 pandemic, pay their pending bills and develop the Counties.
He revealed that 917, 068 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine dose, among them Healthcare workers (160,947), Teachers (143,684) as well those in the security sector (77,417).
Persons above the age of 58 year account for 280,876 and others (254,144).