COVID-19: Screening centers mounted along Mombasa-Nairobi highway

A COVID-19 checkpoint at Miasenyi in Taita Taveta county.A truck driver is currently isolated in Taita Taveta after testing positive in Uganda PHOTO JOSEPH AKWIRI

Efforts to curb the spread of the deadly Coronavirus have gone a notch higher in the country after screening centers were erected along the busy Mombasa-Nairobi highway.

The screening centers mounted at Miasenyi and Manyani areas were manned by both police and Kenya Red Cross officials, and all passengers traveling along the highway from either side were stopped for screening.

Police manning roadblocks at the centers flagged all vehicles, both public and private, and had all occupants alight and proceed to a temporary roadside tent where their body temperatures were checked using infra-red temperature guns before they were allowed to proceed with their journey.

“We are targeting all passengers traveling on this highway. This center at Miasenyi is dealing with passengers traveling from Mombasa while the one in Manyani is focussed on travelers from Nairobi,” a health official at the Miasenyi center, told Baraka FM but asked not to be named since she was not authorized to speak to the media.

The official said any passenger who exhibited an abnormal temperature or flu-like symptoms was held for further testing.

“So far we have not encountered any case worth isolation, and we are glad that there are understanding and cooperation from the passengers,” said the official.

Passengers who Baraka FM spoke to lauded the move.

“This is very good. I don’t think anyone would find this exercise inconveniencing at all. It is for our good and we are glad to cooperate,” Peter Maruwa, who was driving with his family to Nairobi from Mombasa, told Baraka FM at the Miasenyi center.

The roadside screening centers are among the latest move by the government following Thursday’s caution by health cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe, against travel between main cities and upcountry.

Kagwe said such travel put at great risk people in the rural areas, the majority of who are the elderly with low immunity to fight the virus if they got infected.

Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has indicated that the majority of the deaths caused by COVID-19 across the world are of the elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

The country has so far recorded 122 infections with four deaths and four recoveries, and the government has expressed fear of these numbers rising further in the coming days.