Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives on Friday closed open-air livestock markets along the borders with Somalia and Tanzania to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Anne Nyaga, chief administrative secretary for agriculture, said the open-air markets would remain closed indefinitely in order to boost containment measures against the disease.
“Prudent supervision and compliance to the set market protocols by stakeholders has remained a concern in the continued operation of livestock markets,’’ Nyaga told newsmen in Nairobi.
Nyaga said the decision to shut the markets was informed by realisation that all the nine COVID-19 cases that have so far tested positive in Wajir County in north-eastern Kenya were imported from Somalia.
She urged livestock traders to adhere to COVID-19 protocols for livestock markets that include social distancing, hand washing and wearing of face mask.
“We have noted that despite being sensitised, stakeholders are too slow to adhere to measures that have been put in place, hence the closure,’’ Nyaga said.
She said that the markets would have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they have the capacity to enforce the protocols and ensure full compliance before reopening.
Nyaga said that the closure did not affect slaughterhouses in the areas and that the supply of meat would continue uninterrupted.