The government through the ministry of ICT Innovation and Youth Affairs has embarked on a countrywide public information exercise on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking in Mombasa, Coast regional Commissioner John Elungata said the government is currently tasked with tackling the fear among Kenyans for the mass testing targeting the epicenters of the disease outbreak.
“People have the fear that if found positive for COVID-19 they will be forced to quarantine and forced to foot the bills which is not the case,” said Elungata.
He said the government only wants to know how many might have contracted the disease for it to put in place best measures to avoid further spread.
Elungata said people have developed this fear since they are afraid of being stigmatized and separated from their families or being labeled outcasts or bad people.
He attributed the fear to the bad start the Corona pandemic was handled saying now the Ministry of ICT will clear the fear and instill confidence in people to agree to be tested during the ongoing mass testing exercises in vulnerable populations.
“Due to a bad start in the war against COVID-19 during initial stages, the Ministry of Information will be able to correct the perception in people that being positive is not a death sentence or reason to be punished instead the mass testing is aimed at helping the people in efforts to contain the spread of the virus.”
He reiterated the public sensitization by the government through the Ministry of Information will instill confidence in people and reduce the fear for testing and come out in large numbers to be tested.
Elungata said people need to exercise laid down precaution measures against contracting and spread of the virus including wearing of masks, washing hands, maintaining social distancing and avoiding crowds and most importantly staying home if people have no business going outside and public places.
[Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho taking Covid-19 test. Photo Abbas Omar].
“We would appeal for people to be tested since the government has a provision to self-isolate as opposed to forced isolation and quarantine adding that there will be no arrests and forced quarantine during mass testing exercises,” assured Elungata
He commended the Mombasa county government for promising to offset all bills for COVID-19 patients during the 14 days isolation saying the pandemic is of global and national scale affecting everyone thus the need for concerted efforts.
He said Cessation is still on ensuring no movement in and out of Mombasa and other areas in the coast region as well as night curfew to avoid the spread of the virus.