Kirinyaga County shifts focus to markets to contain spread of corona virus
As corona virus cases in the country continue to rise, Kirinyaga County has now shifted its focus to fresh markets places to avert the spread of the virus. The county hosts some of the busiest agricultural produce markets in Kenya which attract thousands of traders from all over the country and hence potential hotspots for corona virus spread.
The County Covid-19 Taskforce has stepped up efforts to decongest and decontaminate the markets. To ensure that the markets are de-congested and that the social distancing rule is achieved, the county government has now extended the market space to include car parks and empty spaces beside the markets. The distance between sellers and buyers has also been demarcated and marked while traders are continuously being sensitized about respecting the 1.5 meter distance apart rule to protect themselves and their customers.
While inspecting the de-congestion exercise in Kagio market, Governor Ann Waiguru stressed the importance of adhering the laid down regulations on corona virus. She said that markets remained a fertile grounds for spread of the virus and therefore everything will be done to ensure that there is no crowding. She also demonstrated the 1.5 meters social distance rule to market traders.
Kagio market attracts thousands of traders from many counties including Mombasa and Nairobi. Until the emergence of corona virus, traders observed two market days- Tuesday and Friday- which led to a lot of crowding. The specific days have since been abolished and now traders are free to converge any day of the week as a way of reducing congestion on specific days. The market deals in fresh produce mainly grown from the area and therefore sold cheaply. Closing the market would therefore have adverse effects on thousands of people who depend of food sourced from the market.
Kagio market banana traders have been relocated from the main fresh produce market to the nearby Kagio Secondary school grounds to enable social distancing. Law enforcement officers are also going round the markets to ensure that there is no crowding.
The Governor said that the cabro paved parking lot in Kagio will now serve as temporary market and urged the market traders to be in front line in the fight against the corona virus by ensuring that together with their customers they adhere to the strict measures of prevention. “We are going to be utilizing our parking spaces in Kagio, Kutus, Kerugoya and Kianyaga to expand the market spaces and if that is not enough we are looking at utilizing empty spaces adjacent to the markets.” Said Governor Waiguru. She added that said that the county had also established hand washing points in market places and other public places. “Our aim is to have at least a hand washing station in every ten meters in our public places since washing hands is one of the first line of defense against the corona virus.”
The governor who also led the county in fumigation of Kagio and Kutus Markets said that the county has also come up with a schedule of fumigating all the markets, health facilities and other public places. She appealed to traders to allow for the fumigation exercises to be carried out as required.
Kirinyaga county is yet to record a confirmed case of corona virus.