The Corona Virus has wrecked so much havoc globally and several countries are now struggling to contain and manage the disease. It has compromised usual business operations, curtailed government operations and completely distabilized most economies. The much feared COVID-19 has managed to penetrate the literally impermeable Kenya’s defence. Over 80 soldiers have reportedly tested positive to the fast – spreading virus forcing authorities to place all military barracks across the country under restrictions of movements, a quarantine within a quarantine some might say.
Information within our hands implicate three military personnel at the Embakassi barracks who prior to the testing had been sent on an undisclosed assignment together. Sources close to us indicated that restrictions have been put in place and other measured are expected later todayover how the Kenya Defence Forces intend to manage the crisis. Neither the president nor the Cabinet Secretary, Health mutahi Kagwe have issued any statements regarding the new infections. The discovery is said to have sent the Embakassi base into sheer panic but the same is being managed. moved with speed to ensure the virus does not spread like bush fire among the Kenyan soldiers as that would compromise security measures as well as the sovereignty of the nation.
An undisclosed number of officers were moved to Kahawa barracks along Thika superhighway as a containment measure while others are quarantined and under observation. The doors to one of Kenya’s most secure areas were shut, No entry and No exit except for special cases. No one has since been going in or out of the facility and even soldiers who were on leave were shut out and ordered to remain at home and those residing outside the barracks ordered to move back into the barracks.
It is alleged that the virus had already permiated into the establishment and symptoms had already been noted in the previous week’s. There is no information available as yet regarding any casualties but 254news is on standby. An isolation centre had been put up at Embakasi barracks for those who turned positive but as numbers grew, it was moved to Kabete barracks which was made the treatment centre for all KDF staff.
Last week, an officer reportedly died and was buried at his home in Olenguruone in Nakuru county, but this it is unclear whether the death was caused by the virus. Yet another establishment under strict surveillance with limited access is Kahawa Garrison, a big military facility surrounded by a huge population of civilians. The barracks was placed on partial lockdown as a precautionary measure the moment Kenya started registering huge numbers of COVID-19 patients earlier on in March.
It is feared that a significant number of soldiers spent a good chunk of their time outside camp mingling with civilians. Some have homes at the neighbouring Kahawa Wendani, Kahawa Sukari, Githurai 44 and 45 estates interacting freely with people in the estates and markets. KDF has so far put in place protocols that seeks to curtail the spread of the highly contagious virus among officers in the barracks. Military parades have been scrapped, trainings have been put on hold, officers have been barred from leaving the facility and are only being allowed to purchase food and other stuffs from the military canteens.
Other containment measures instituted by the authorities to contain spread of the virus include provision of sanitization points across all KDF establishments, conducting mass testing, establishing quarantine areas, conducting routine temperature checks, distribution n of face masks, sensitizing soldiers and the KDF family on the do’s and don’ts during this pandemic as well as, facilitating movement for essential tasks or compassionate cases.