Hotel defies order to close as cholera cases increase

George Kebaso and KNA @PeopleDailyKe

A row was last evening brewing between the government and Jacaranda Hotel after the latter defied a directive to halt its operations until it puts in place set health regulations in the wake of cholera outbreak.

This came as 12 people were admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital yesterday with positive cholera symptoms. Of the 12, six were from Mukuru slum, while the others were from Karen upmarket area according to reports at the hospital.

And last evening the Health ministry sent a text to Kenyans through the Short Messaging Service (SMS) appealing to them, especially the close to 2,000 participants who attended last week’s Trade Week forum at KICC, to go to the nearest government health facility for check-up in case they have not done so.

Two Cabinet secretaries Henry Rotich (Treasury) and his Industrialisation counterpart Adan Mohammed, who attended the function were reportedly taken ill and admitted to hospitals after taking meals from an outside catering provider. It emerged yesterday that the Jacaranda hotel located in Westlands could be headed to the courts to seek legal redress if the order is effected.

A spot check at the hotel revealed normal operations were going on even as the national and Nairobi county governments maintained that the order still stands, and must be effected.

The hotel is associated with the late Kiambaa MP Njenga Karume. In an interview with journalists, Nairobi County Health executive, Bernard Muia said the county government is committed to eradicating the disease by supplying clean water to the most affected areas.

On Wednesday, Health Cabinet secretary Dr Cleopa Mailu listed Kawangware, Kibera, Mathare, Mukuru Kayaba and Kwa Reuben as the most hit areas. He said up to 10 treatment centres had been set up with the help of Kenya Red Cross Service, World Health Organisation and UN Children’s Education Fund.

Through these facilities, Mailu said the government will distribute an estimated 500,000 water treatment tablets and soap to increase hygiene. He also directed that, all food handlers, vendors and the public in general observe hygiene when dealing with food at any given point.

However, even as the government moves fast to ensure that no more people are affected, informal food outlets were comfortably operating. It also emerged that four towns within Murang’a county have been put under surveillance following outbreak of cholera in parts of Nairobi.

Area County Public Health officer John Mwaniki said Murang’a, Maragua, Kenol and Kabati towns have been put under surveillance to prevent the disease from spreading. He said because of their proximity to Nairobi, the disease can easily spread to parts of Murang’a if not controlled.

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