- The temporary camps have been established as the police cells could not accommodate the huge numbers.
- The governors normally hold weekly virtual meetings on Thursdays.
- At the same time, Trans Nzoia County Referral Hospital has begun testing for the coronavirus.
Governors in the North Rift have agreed not to force people who break the dusk-to-dawn curfew rule to stay in quarantine for two weeks as has been the norm across the country.
Those found to have breached the Covid-19 precautionary restrictions will now be placed in police holding camps which are supported by respective counties before they are charged in court.
The eight county bosses, under the North Rift Regional Bloc (Noreb), said the available quarantine facilities will be used only by people who have or suspected to have come into contact with infected persons.
The temporary camps have been established as the police cells could not accommodate the huge numbers of people breaking the curfew hours rule and those not following the Ministry of Health regulations.
“Members of the public who flout the Covid-19 containment measures will be held in county police holding camps and assisted to reform. This should not be confused with medical quarantine facilities whose aim is to host persons under investigation for Covid-19. Support for the police holding camps to continue as has been through county governments,” said the governors in a joint press statement.
Elgeyo-Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos said they agreed not to quarantine everyone who breaks the Covid-19 regulations, saying most do not meet the required criteria to be locked in the centres.
RISK IN QUARANTINE
“There is a risk of many people contracting the disease in case someone in the quarantine centres has it so we agreed those who break the other regulations should be held separately in these camps,” Mr Tolgos told the Nation on Saturday.
He added that the number people in the region defying the guidelines has drastically reduced in the last few weeks.
The governors normally hold weekly virtual meetings on Thursdays to appraise themselves on the Covid-19 situation in the region.
They are joined by officials from Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) and other health officials from across the region. The security teams and top managers from key institutions including Kerio Valley Development Authority, Moi University and Rivatex also join them.
MTRH Chief Executive Wilson Aruasa said they are in talks with the police to ensure those picked for breaking the law are given bonds.
“We are talking with the police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to see if they can issue more police bonds for the petty offenders or charge them in the court of law as per the Penal Code,” said Dr Aruasa.
Noreb consists of Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Turkana, Samburu and Baringo.
Last week, the governors also called for tougher measures for those who blatantly break the measures instituted by the government to prevent the spread of the deadly disease that has so far led to 45 deaths by Friday across the country.
NO CASES IN NOREB
So far, only three cases have been reported in the region. However, two people from Trans Nzoia, who were diagnosed with the disease in Nairobi, have died.
Presently, the Ministry of Health has focused attention on cross-border truck drivers after a number of them tested positive for the coronavirus.
The governors asked the police officers manning roadblocks in the region to be extra cautions while handling the drivers who travel through the Northern Corridor that passes though some of the Noreb counties.
The main regional quarantine facility at the Kenya Medical Training College in Eldoret is also running short of funds after MoH ordered that those put in such facilities across the country will not pay for being held there.
At the same time, Trans Nzoia County Referral Hospital has begun testing for the coronavirus, becoming the second facility to do so in the region after MTRH.
Plans are also underway for the Kakuma Influenza Centre in Turkana to also begin the testing.