The COVID 19 infections in the country reached 42 last Sunday after four more people were tested positive to the highly contagious viral disease.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe in his daily update confirmed the fresh cases but urged Kenyans to strictly observe the measures the government had recommended to avert further spread of the disease.
He stressed that it was mandatory for those who travelled back into the country in recent times to observe self-quarantine for at least 14 days to ensure they were free of the virus.
Leaders asked not to give misleading information on Corona Virus
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe at the same time cautioned leaders to stop propagating falsehood about the pandemic to gain political mileage.
“We have noted the misinformation doing the rounds in social media where a leader in this country is claiming there are over 7000 people in mandatory quarantine. This is not true. It is immoral and unethical for anyone, more so a leader in the country, to mislead people for whatever reasons they may have particularly with regard to the fight against Coronavirus,” he said.
This, he explained, symbolizes everything that is wrong in our society noting that while this number can happen at any given time, at the moment it is not true and if it was the case there would be no reason at all why government would hide the truth explaining that currently there are 2050 people in mandatory quarantine in 14 designated places.
Kagwe who was giving an update on the coronavirus situation as of Sunday said that the medical teams had Sunday embarked on mass testing for all those persons who arrived in the country last week based on dates of arrival
“It is important that suspects will remain in quarantine for the full duration. However those who test positive will be taken in isolation facilities. The exercise will continue until all those in the facilities are tested,” he said.
The current situation, the CS said that in the last twenty-four hours, a total of 69 samples from suspected cases of Coronavirus have been analyzed in the various laboratories and out of these four (4) cases have been confirmed positive for coronavirus.
They include one Kenyan and three foreigners from America, Cameroon and Burkina Faso. This now brings to 42 the number of those who have tested positive for the virus in Kenya.
“All the four confirmed cases three are from Nairobi and one from Mombasa. Nairobi Country continues to lead with 31 cases of those who have so far tested positive, followed by Kilifi with six, Mombasa with three, while Kajiado and Kwale with one each,” the CS said.
Out of the 42 positive cases, 24 are male while 18 are female, Kagwe said adding that tracing of contacts for the 42 confirmed cases is ongoing and now the total number of close contacts that are being monitored stands at 1426.
Out of this number, he added that 215 have been discharged after completing the mandatory 14-day follow up period and that currently the Health Team is monitoring 919 close contacts while 18 individuals are admitted at Mbagathi Hospital awaiting test results. So far the government has tested 877 persons for coronavirus disease
As of yesterday the global figures stood at 571, 678 of persons who have tested positive for Coronavirus while 26,494 have succumbed since the disease outbreak. Yesterday alone within a period of 24 hours Italy reported 971 deaths while Spain recorded 769. The USA recorded a total of 16894 new cases with 252 deaths in a period of 24 hours.
This scenario, CS Kagwe said reflects the possible outcomes the country is likely to face if we are complacent with the measures the government has put in place.
The CS appealed to Kenyans to embrace this fight against coronavirus as opposed to assuming that it is a government affair.
Kagwe said that they are expanding capacity for purposes of intervention measures particularly in the counties and the initiatives that private sectors who have identified various areas such as schools and air flight hangars that can be used if need were to arise as isolation facilities.
There is no country that has been able to contain the disease on its facilities alone, it’s like that our health facilities can be overrun by the demand and added that in the next one week the government will also hire 1000 medical personnel.
The government through the ministry of Trade and Industry have been able to provide products such as masks and Protective Personal Equipment (PPE).
“We are purchasing ventilators from many parts and although there is a shortage across the world, we have people who are assisting us such as the World Bank who have donated 250 ventilators and every effort is being done to source of many more.
“As government, we have plans to ensure that in the next few weeks, we are able to manufacture some of these materials locally for self-sustainability” he said.
Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina said that within the country, there are 50 companies that are capable of manufacturing ventilators and also personal protective gears and they are working and having a conversation together to ensure there is great capacity to supply goods.
Governor Mohammed Kuti urged counties to identify schools or premises that the government can use just in case they are overwhelmed by the numbers.
He further asked those companies or even expert individuals who can produce masks or any protective gear to liaise with County Emergency Response team who are working with the National government so that they can manufacture them locally.
During Sunday’s briefing, the CS appealed to employers to release their employees early from their work stations to beat the curfew time.
“In the event they do not allow their employees to leave early then they should be prepared to accommodate them at their own cost,” Kagwe said.
The fresh infections comes as authorities moved in to relocated a Catholic Priest to Mbagathi Hospital after his presence in Kitui town sparked public outrage.
Father Nicholas Maanzo who last Monday jetted into the country from Ireland was the talk in social circles for failing to observe self-quarantine after he was spotted shopping in town.
“Kitui County Health Officials made after the routine checkup revealed the cleric exhibited fever, coughing and had an headache,” a witness confided to KNA.
According to the source, who requested anonymity, Fr Maanzo exhibited signs associated with Covid-19 and was referred to Mbagathi for management as he waited his test results?
The Priest had vowed to remain in self-quarantine for 14 days as per the government directive to contain the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus.
He said that he had interacted with his nephew, a relative and his domestic worker.
Father Maanzo had on Wednesday last week sparked fears among the public in Kitui town after he was spotted shopping in a supermarket.
According to sources, the Priest was earlier that day seen at a local ATM withdrawing money.
He was reported to the health officials in Kitui who together with police forced him to stay in his house as per the Government directives on people arriving in the country from foreign lands to self-quarantine for 14 days.
In a statement sent to the press on Thursday, the soft spoken elderly Priest said that he will comply with the quarantine regulations.
“I was tested at JKIA and proceeded to self-isolation at home. However I ventured out of the house to get food supplies. I regret risking the lives of others,” he said.
Father Maanzo, a former Kasyala parish priest in Kitui central, arrived in Kenya on Monday March 23 from Dublin. Ireland where some 2,415 people have been acquired the virus with 36 deaths and 5 recoveries as at Sunday March 29.
However, he failed to follow the government directives that everyone coming from outside the country must quarantine to avoid the spread of Coronavirus.
He was stationed at St Joseph’s parish in Monaghan, Clogher Diocese. He went to Ireland in September 2019.
He grew up under the care of Irish missionaries. He was baptised by Kitegan Fathers and confirmed by late Bishop Dunne.
Father Maanzo was ordained in 1987 as the seventh priest in Kitui.
By Wangare Ndirangu and Yobesh Onwong’a