Covid 19 infections in the country hit the 700 mark last Monday after 28 more people tested positive to the highly contagious disease.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr. Rashid Aman said the new infections were detected from 841 samples that were tested in the last 24 hours.
He said ten of the cases were found in Mombasa County where the rate of infections had reached alarming proportions prompting the government to impose lockdown in Old Town to conatin the spread of the pandemic.
Rashid said the nine cases reported in Kajiado County were those of cross border truck drivers tested at Namanga while seven other cases were found in Nairobi and two more from Wajir county.
He said five of the truck drivers found with the disease were Tanzanians whose cases were referred back to their country
“ The Mombasa cases were found in Mvita which had three cases while Changamwe, Kisauni and Nyali reported two cases of infections with Likoni completing the tally with last case.
In Nairobi, the cases are from Kenyatta National Hospital which has 3 Embakasi East 2 and one each from Kibra and Pumwani. In wajir, the cases are in Eldas and Tarbaj.
He also said twelve patients recovered from the disease bringing the total number of recoveries from Covid 19 to 251.
Rashid however regretted to inform the nation that one patient from Nairobi succumbed to the disease pushing the death toll to 33 since the pandemic was reported in the country earlier in the year.
He said the Ministry of Health Case Management team on Covid 19 was reviewing guidelines to make it possible for anybody admitted in the hospital facilities to undergo the covid 19 test as a standard procedure.
Ag. Director General Ministry of Health Dr. Patrick Amoth said the move was to protect frontline care workers and patients admitted at various facilities for other ailments from risk of infections which could easily compromise their already fragile immune status
The new approach comes after a 33 year old patient passed on after developing complications related to the disease despite the fact that people within the 30 and 39 age brackets rarely succumbed to the disease.
“ In the last 48 hours for the first time we had a 33 year old gentleman who passed on despite this group of people being the highest number in terms of asymptomatic case but we have never had a mortality of someone in that age group”, Dr. Amoth said during the daily briefing on coronavirus at Afya house.
He expressed fears that when people of such age group pass on at a facility level, they exposed the health care workers at risk of contracting Covid 19 and of course transmitting the infection to other patients because of the symptomatic nature of their reaction to the disease
Dr Rashid on the other hand noted being exactly two months since recording of the 1st positive case, daily lifestyles have completely been altered and destabilized and the country’s economy impacted negatively.
“Recognizing that the virus requires a sound public health response, we will fully support our frontline healthcare workers, in providing technical expertise on case management as they seek to address community spread”, he said
The CAS added that apart from instituting stiffer measures as part of the interventions against the disease, they have also expanded the national testing capacities from the initial two testing laboratories to sixteen even as the government is in the process of expanding even further.
He lauded the County Governments for also expanding their level of preparedness, to effectively manage the disease at the community level by establishing and equipping isolation and quarantine facilities across the country since this is where the fight against the disease has moved to .
Dr. Rashid has however noted with concern that some Kenyans have resorted to using herbs seeking prevention or cure for COVID-19.
“ I want to caution Kenyans that, these herbs have not been empirically verified or approved by the KEBS, KEMRI or the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, for safety and efficacy and those consuming such concoctions should know it can be detrimental to one’s health. I appeal to Kenyans to visit designated health facilities for advice”, he reiterated.
Dr Rashid also announced that the government had unveiled a WhatsApp chat BOT facility, which will contain basic information on Covid-19 and urged wananchi to seek information from the said platform.
The WhatsApp number is 0110719719 and will be an embedded with simple self-diagnostic tool to provide information on Covid-19 as requested.
Also today a meeting held with all stakeholders in the hotels and restaurants industry has come up with a technical team that will address areas of challenges in the protocols to be followed during this time and has been tasked to submit a way forward within the next one week.
Speaking today on the set committee, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala said they have established two teams that will report back on Monday morning and one team will discuss how to gradually open the accommodation sector which is hotels and also how do to sure that the high end restaurants are gradually opening without flouting any rules
“ We have all agreed it is the of every restaurant and eatery seeking to reopen to access the protocals as published by the Ministry of health and also agreed that the establishments also develop their standards operational procedures which are compliant to the said MOH protocals” , he said .
Balala explained that as government , they do not want to burden the business community through the protocals but to make sure the spread of the virus to the public is stopped and the economy does not stop.
In order to ease some of the protocals given by the MOH and also support the economy, the CS said that the cost of testing for the businesses has been reduced to Ksh 1000 from the normal charges of 4,000 that the businesses were being charged.
“ There will also be no charges by the Nairobi metropolitan services for inspection of the premises neither will there be any charges for the compliance permit. Once the establishment presents their papers, to counties for their compliance certificates it will take 24 hours for it to be processed so there will be no delay or cost”, Balala said .
By Wangari Ndirangu