Kenya: COVID-19 - Nakuru Residents Ignore Social Distancing Rule

As the national government steps up efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the country, most Nakuru residents have ignored social distancing guidelines.

From the open markets to supermarkets, pharmaceutical shops, matatu terminus and boda-boda operators, it is business as usual.

In a number of supermarkets, shoppers were on Monday milling around cashiers, in total disregard of the social distance guidelines and the notice pinned strategically at the cashier' desk to keep a safe distance.

IGNORING WARNING

Although not a single positive case has been reported in Nakuru so far, health officials are warning that ignoring the warnings is a big gamble.

"Nakuru town is a transit town where people from Western Kenya, Central Kenya, North Rift pass on their way to Nairobi and it is important to observe guidelines issued by the government," said a medic in the county Covid-19 response team.

The most evident sign of ignorance is at the makeshift market at Afraha Stadium Annex. The muddy open air market teems with hundreds of traders who mingle and sell their produce to customers without paying attention to Covid-19 pandemic.

CONFUSION

"There is still a lot of confusion and there is no order in this market as we are still settling down. We know why we are here, but again, there is little sensitisation on social distancing," said Ms Mary Wanjiru a fruit vendor.

"This virus is a terrible killer. We have seen what it has done in Italy, Spain and other European countries. However, everybody in this open air market is scrambling for customers," said Ms Margret Wangui, a fruit seller.

The four gates in the market are a total mess as boda-boda riders scramble for clients from the market,

"This market is so huge unlike the Wakulima Market where we were stationed at one place and all our customers knew us. If I keep the social distance here, my children will have nothing to eat," said Mr Caleb Omurwa, a boda-boda rider.

Motorists using Moi Road in the morning are having nightmares due to traffic jams from boda-boda riders, tuk-tuks and trucks bringing fresh produce to the market. However, all is not lost as porters ensure that those entering the market wash their hands.

"We care about our customers because if there is total lockdown, we shall have nothing to eat as this market will be closed," said Mr Peter Otieno.

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