Measures to Stem spread of Coronavirus in Police Stations
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Kasarani police station
The fact that police officers are equally vulnerable to coronavirus infections cannot be underestimated.
This is due to the fact that their job exposes them to high risks of contracting the virus since they handle several members of the public in a single day, hence higher interactions.
Police are also listed as frontiers in the fight against the Covid-19 just like other professionals including those in the medical field, they offer essential services.
Over 30 police officers according to the Health ministry have been quarantined across the country after contracting the disease since March when it was reported in the country.
Nairobi regional police commander Philip Ndolo said stringent measures had been put in all police stations across the city to prevent coronavirus infections.
Ndolo said all the subcounty police commanders serving in the seventeen subcounties had been directed to ensure full adherence of the government’s directives on combating Covid-19 to prevent coronavirus infections in the stations.
He said there were no new directives issued to the officers in combating coronavirus apart from the ones earlier issued by Police IG Hillary Mutyambai.
“There are no new measures, we are implementing the guidelines issued by the inspector general alongside the government’s directives on combating the Covid-19 that include washing hands, sanitizing, keeping social distance and using facemasks,” Ndolo said.
A spot check by Opera News across the country established that most of the cells were empty without suspected criminals.
This reporter found out that most traffic offenders were fined instantly on the road by traffic officers while petty offenders were released either on free bonds or cash bails at the stations pending arraignment. Some police stations were holding suspects of capital offenses like murder, robbery with violence, excreta.
This has kept the stations free from congestion thereby adherence to the ‘keeping social distance’ guideline that had initially been a challenge after the movement cessation in Nairobi and curfew directives were issued by the state due to high numbers of suspects arrested.
Ndolo said the problem was resolved by the centre that was opened at Kasarani police station to handle those arrested violating curfew, social distancing, alongside other directives.
“The centre was opened at Kasarani police station after we requested the Judiciary to establish a court to handle those violating the government’s directives on combating Covid-19 such as curfew and social-distancing which they agreed,” Ndolo said.
Ndolo said the centre had helped in holding suspects arrested for flouting the regulations before they are arraigned and charged.
“They are usually taken to Kasarani at around 4.00am after they are arrested and held at the centre before being arraigned. Some are fined while others committed to community service for close to a month,” he said.
Police have intensified crackdowns on those who fail to keep social distancing by either merrymaking in clubs, bars and pubs or holding unlawful gatherings in funerals, churches or political rallies.
Ndolo said the three cases of police officers who allegedly tested positive of the virus at Kamkunji police station had not interacted with the colleagues at the station.
He said of the three cops; one had been assigned to a multi-agency team involved in contact tracing while another was a DCI officer living out of Kamkunji police station with the family.
“The third person was an officer attached to Kamkunji police station who just said he wanted to take a Covid-19 test, he took himself to Mbagathi Hospital but never returned to the station. He was quarantined and put under medication after he tested positive,” Ndolo told Opera News by phone on Wednesday.
He added, “The first victim was an officer who was given to the multi-agency involved in contact tracing of Covid-19 patients with officials from the Health ministry in March this year. He was taken to Kenyatta National Hospital where he was put under medication once he tested positive of the virus.”
Ndolo said the DCI’s family members had been quarantined in his house, while the first cop’s family members equally quarantined at their rural home out of the city.
He said there was no course for alarm since none of the victims visited Kamkunji or any other police station in the country after contracting coronavirus.