Eastleigh residents protest lockdown as leaders call for targeted mass testing
A section of Eastleigh residents took to the streets on Monday to protest restriction of movement in the area, with appeals to the government to provide them with relief food.
The residents said their livelihoods have been affected with no means of getting daily income since the 15-day cessation of movement in the area came into effect last week May 6, 2020.
They said they have not reported to their places of work since Friday last week making it hard to earn their daily wages to provide for their families.
Eastleigh Business Community General Secretary Ahmed Noor pointed out that whereas shop owners are counting losses due to lack of business brought about by the lockdown, it was the employees who were feeling the pinch of the lockdown since they had nowhere else to fend for themselves.
Mr Noor said that as much as the closure of the business-hub was a good step in containing the spread of Covid-19, however, he called on the government to carry out targeted mass testing across Nairobi to establish the true picture of the spread of the coronavirus in the capital to help in combating it.
He argued that the targeted mass testing will help in tracing people who work in Eastleigh but live in other areas in Nairobi.
“As business owners, we can weather the lockdown but what will happen to those who earn a living in Eastleigh as house helps, car washers, trolley pushers, waiters, security guards and many more who depend on the Eastleigh economy to survive?” posed Mr Noor.
Area MCA Osman Adow also raised concerns that many people who depend on Eastleigh for their livelihoods risk starvation with the lockdown.
“We are not fighting the lockdown but I think our officers stationed at the various border points should be instructed to allow vehicles ferrying foodstuffs in and out of Eastleigh to pass because if they ground them then this will put area residents at risk of starvation,” said Mr Adow.
Even as the leaders called for mass testing, the government last week ruled out such testing in areas under lockdown such as Eastleigh and Old Town in Mombasa with Health acting Director General Patrick Amoth saying targeted testing was “only applicable in specific circumstances like when it is not possible to map contacts.
Eastleigh, popular for its shopping malls, great eateries and cafes, and a teeming population, has registered more than 67 cases of coronavirus.