Lamu elders are still holding onto the myth that swimming in salty Indian Ocean water prevents people from contracting Covid-19.
About a year ago shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, a section of Lamu elders, especially those from far-flung and remote islands in the archipelago, came out advising locals to swim in salty ocean water in order for them to avoid contracting the fatal virus.
Speaking to Opera News Hub on Wednesday, the elders led by Khaldun Vae reiterated that Lamu has witnessed low fatalities resulting from Covid-19, attributing the situation with the fact that locals have always been swimming in salty Indian Ocean waters in the region.
Only 27 people out of the 645 succumbed to the virus within the over one and a half years since Covid-19 hit the country.
Mr Vae insisted that the low number of deaths is due to the fact that salty ocean water helped to boost the residents’ body immunity in fighting Coronavirus.
So far only two Covid-19 patients are in isolation in the county with the rest having been discharged after recovering from Covid-19.
Mr Vae asked locals not to stop swimming in Indian Ocean waters for their own good.
“We are encouraging our people not to stop swimming in the salty Indian Ocean waters daily. This has clearly proven that salty Indian Ocean water can help avert Covid-19 infection,” said Mr Vae.
Mohamed Maulana, another elder in Lamu Island said residents in the county have for decades believed that saline water from the ocean has the ability to kill all manner of viruses, bacteria as well as treating many ailments.
Mr Maulana insisted that as locals, they still have high hopes that salty water can prevent people from catching Covid-19 due to its anti-bacterial properties.
This is despite the fact that viruses and bacteria are treated differently, and despite lack of scientific evidence to support the claim.
“For ages, our forefathers and even ourselves have been using salty water from the Indian Ocean as a remedy for various ailments. If you have a wound and you swim in salty water, it gets healed faster. We used to treat various ailments like flu, common cold and other virus-related diseases using salty water and it has been really working. I therefore advise our people, particularly the aged across Lamu County and the Coast region to continue with the habit of swimming frequently in salty water from the Indian Ocean, especially during this period of Covid-19. We believe after swimming, no viruses including coronavirus can survive,” said Mr Maulana.
Omar Mohamed, an elder from Kiwayu claimed that swimming in the Indian Ocean can supplement hand washing and other precautionary measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.
“I want to also stress this, that, as we concentrate on the use of hand sanitizers and other mechanisms to maintain our hygiene, at the same time, let’s give our advice of swimming in salty Indian Ocean waters a chance,” said Mr Mohamed.
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