BY VERAH CHEKEMOI
Tata Chemicals Magadi Limited in Kajiado has locked down Magadi town over the alleged spike in Covid-19 cases that hit 30 in the last 3 days.
The soda ash manufacturing company that also manages all the activities on the island of Magadi and the lake said the lockdown will start on Tuesday, March 23 to March 27.
This means the more than 5,000 workers, business people and their children will not leave Magadi in the said period of lockdown.
The head of human resource and administration, Prisca Otipa, also said no public service vehicles from Nairobi and other parts will be allowed to enter Magadi in the said period.
“TCML has in the recent past has been reporting increment in the number of Covid-19 infections. In the past 3 days alone, we had over 30 positive cases and the number is continuing to swell,” said Otipa is a staff memo.
Otipa said because of the new development, and to contain the spread of the virus, TCML ordered such an action.
“Personal travelling clearance for staff has been stopped with immediate effect. All essential service movement shall only be authorised by me, and we have ordered all office staff to work from home in Magadi,” said Otipa.
The TCML staff will work from home in Magadi to allow fumigation of all the offices, while staff working in the plant will be guided by their managers, according to Otipa.
Otipa called on any staff/family or Maasai community members living inside and outside the company land suspecting symptoms of Covid-19 to immediately self-isolate and contact the company hospital.
“All the eateries and entertainment places managed by TCML and private companies within the island of Magadi shall only serve takeaway while exercising social distancing,” the head of human resources said.
Otipa said that at the end of the lockdown on Saturday, all the staff and people doing businesses on the island, and who have been away during the period, will be required to do a Covid-19 test in returning.
An order has also been issued for the arrest of people found on the island walking around without masks.
She said all of them will be required to produce the Covid-19 certificate to the management before they are allowed back.
The company has also declared the closure of the Mutaro livestock market in Magadi on Wednesday.
Livestock farmers from Olkeri and Olkiramatian areas of Magadi sell their livestock there every Wednesday so that they can use the proceeds to buy food items in Magadi town.
With the closure of Magadi town, which the nerve-centre of the larger Magadi Ward, thousands of families who had not stocked food will be forced to seek other means to reach Narok or Mai Mahiu towns.
There are no reliable roads to Narok of Mai Mahiu from Magadi, and this situation caused by lockdown measures is likely to cause a lot of hue and cry among the residents of the Kajiado West sub-county.