Some 21 people from Mwala Sub County said to have interacted with a fruit dealer who has tested positive for Covid-19 have been directed to go for 14-day quarantine.
The individuals who include five women and 16 men were ordered to quarantine themselves by the County government for fear of spreading the deadly virus in the county in case they test positive for the disease.
According to Machakos County Executive Committee member (CEC) for Health, Dr. Ancent Kituku, the concerned persons, all residents of Mbiuni area had been picked up after the fruit trader said to be a resident of Kiambu came to purchase tangerines and oranges at Makuti market in Mwala sub county and later tested positive for the disease later while in Nairobi.
The patient is currently being treated at the Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral hospital in Nairobi.
Dr. Kituku has also warned the 21 people to ensure they keep away from the public until the 14-day window period is completed, failure to which the county government will have no choice but to place them under mandatory quarantine.
“The 21 people we have ordered to go on quarantine were picked during contact tracing for persons who interacted with the fruit dealer after he tested positive for the disease. We have directed them to adhere strictly to the laid down health guidelines for two weeks, failure to which we shall have no option but to subject them to a mandatory quarantine,” said Kituku.
It has also emerged that the trader is among hundreds of traders who frequent the market from outside to buy fruits and horticultural products in the area, though this is the first of such cases to be reported in the area.
Last week, the number of people confirmed to have contracted Covid-19 in Machakos rose to five after two others tested positive for the virus.
The two, both males, included a truck driver who was in transit from Malaba and a 32-year-old individual who had sneaked into the county from Kwale county.
The truck driver was picked at Mlolongo area after test results carried on him showed he had contracted the deadly virus.
It is said the driver had initially been tested at Malaba for the virus before he was cleared to continue with his journey.
The second case patient is said to have initially travelled from Tanzania to Kwale County where he was put into quarantine for 14 days as required by the public health regulations.
However, upon the expiry of the period, he hiked a long-distance truck to Makutano Kyumvi in Machakos before proceeding to Kathiani to see his in-laws.
He was eventually picked up by health officials and immediately taken to Kathiani level 4 hospital after a public outcry erupted over his presence in the area.
Samples taken from him later tested positive for Covid-19 at the Machakos Level 5 hospital.
Both patients are said to be asymptomatic and are currently admitted at the Kinanie Isolation facility in Mavoko Sub County as health officials embark in tracing all those who came into contact with them.
Kituku is now advising the public to adhere to health guidelines which have been issued by the Ministry of Health in regard to preventing the spread of the disease warning that the county may be see a rise in infections in coming days, due to illegal cross county border movements between Nairobi and Machakos.
“We urge our members of the public to continue observing all the precautionary measures as advised by the national and county government. We expect the number of cases to rise in the coming days owing to mushrooming of illegal entry points that people are using to sneak in and out of the county which is partly to blame for many of the new infections,” he explained.
To date, Kenya has recorded a total of 912 infections, 326 recoveries and 50 deaths arising from the pandemic.
Globally, the disease has already claimed 318,554 people with 1.7 million recoveries as at May 18.
More than 4 million others have been infected with the corona virus even as countries work round the clock to find a vaccine for the disease.
By Samuel Maina