More than 500 pupils have been banned from crossing the border for school in Kenya in a move to combat the spread of Covid-19.
The ban was on Wednesday announced by Mr John Achila, the Busia Resident District Commissioner , during a Covid-19 taskforce meeting at the district council hall.
Mr Achila, the head of the taskforce, said the restriction is in line with the Presidential directives on the closure of schools in the country following a surge in Covid-19 cases.
President Museveni, on Sunday listed 40 directives which, among others, included the immediate closure of all institutions of learning.
“The continuous crossing of the border by our children who study in Kenya is in contravention of the presidential directives and is not only a risk in the spread of Covid-19 to the children, but to the family members too,” Mr Achila said.
He added: “We are not in-charge of the affairs of these learners who cross the border on a daily basis and because of this, we can’t allow their movement to continue due to the risks involved.”
Earlier on Wednesday, more than five school buses from Kenya were denied entry into the country by police and border security agencies.
The move left several pupils stranded include Jovia Awino, a pupil at St Mary’s Nursery and Primary School, who said she waited for the bus for close to two hours.
“I arrived here before 7am and have been waiting for the bus. I am late for lessons but up to now it has not come,” Awino said.
Meanwhile several affected parents say if their children are blocked from going to school they will incur losses in school fees.
Ms Margret Nasanga, one of the parents, said: “School fees in Kenya is very high. Each term goes for not less than Shs600,000 which is not easy to come by.”
Ms Nasanga added that learners are meant to sit promotional examinations starting next week. Mr Godfrey Egesa, whose child attends Agape Nursery School in Busia-Kenya, said he opted to take them to study across the border because learning remained open to all classes.
Surge in cases
Statistics from the Busia District health department indicate that last week, 128 people tested positive for the virus and are receiving treatment under the home-based care services, while some are admitted to Masafu hospital.
Dr Matthias Wabwire Panyako, the Busia District health officer, said cumulatively, seven people have succumbed to Covid-19 and that the worst hit sub-counties are Masaba, Masafu, Lunyo, Tiira and Busia Municipality.
Mr Panyako revealed that they have embarked on surveillance and sensitisation of masses on the preventive measures as guided by the Ministry of Health.
Mr Joseph Balisanyuka, the Busia chief administrative officer, said all district vehicles are on standby to handle any emergencies that may arise but that they were challenged by lack of fuel.