The Covid 19 infection tally in the country shot to 126 today after four more suspect cases tested positive to the highly contagious pandemic.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe the fresh infections were cases put under quarantine raising fears that those in isolation centres might have left their guard and failed to observe the social distance rule.
He appealed to those put under mandatory quarantine to strictly adhere to the safety measures and refrain from engaging in social behavior that could axelerate the spread of the viral disease.
‘ I appeal to those in isolation centres to understand the enomity of the task and keep the social distance instead of engaging in partying sprees” he said
Kagwe also announced that the government had operationalized Kenyatta University teaching and referral Hospital as a Covid 19 facility to cope with the rising numbers of infections in the country.
He said at least 20 people were isolated at the hospital for corona virus disease.
“We have also started moving persons who are in designated facilities depending on their status to prevent them from infections”, he added.
In order to avoid congestion, the CS noted that the Ministry had also made arrangements for home based care where it is possible.
The CS who was giving daily update on the status of coronavirus situation fresh infections including three Kenyans and one Pakistani were in a cluster of 300 people tested over the last 24 hours, two of whom had a travel history outside the country in recent times.
Out of the 2050 people who have been put in mandatory quarantine, The CS said 1866 have been tested and that only 184 were yet to be sorted.
“Contact tracing is the largest activity of the government and so far out of 1781 contacts monitored 1100 people have been discharged and 672 people are being monitored in the follow up programme”, Kagwe said \
The CS however expressed disappointment with some of the people under quarantine who he said had disregarded the social distance directive by even holding parties.
“The government has now instructed medical officials to extend the quarantine for another 14 days because those people might have interacted with positive cases “, he said
Kagwe regretted that most of those who tested positive were under quarantine raising concerns of a possibility that transmission might have occurred while sharing the facilities, and chances were high they may have gone against protocol.
“To secure Kenyans is an activity and position that we regrettably have to take. If the medical personnel feel it necessary for those already under quarantine to stay longer their time will be extended “, Kagwe said.
Meanwhile the government has appealed to the youth in the country to join in efforts being undertaken to combat the Covid 19 Disease.
Kagwe made a passionate appeal asking the youth to become part of the fight to stop further spread of the pandemic.
“The youth are the biggest component of our society and also people who are largely mobile and have got energy to help in fighting the disease”, he said
He explained that according to glaring Global statistics youth are the ones who are contacting the disease but at the same time are safer than the older people since they are carriers.
He called upon the youth to become part of the solution to the programmes by taking measures, such as not travelling upcountry, organizing themselves as they have been doing so in terms of sanity in matatu saccos , markets , cleaning exercises and even in sporting activities
“ If they organize themselves in the similar format and responsibility and do it in the same format they can reach a new impetus and create a difference between the way we are handing things in the Kenya compared to other countries.
Kagwe insisted that it was the responsibility of each and every person to ensure measures such as social distancing were observed. “We cannot police social distancing and therefore you can only take personal responsibility for your own good.
The CS urged those going to supermarkets to also use masks just like in the public transport saying that scarcity is no longer a thing as they can be manufactured locally.
‘ I want to urge any person visiting a supermarket or open air market to wear protective masks to prevent transmission in those areas”, he said .
Apart from being able to manufacture the Protective equipment’s locally that will keep health workers safe and secure, CS said laboratories in KEMRI were involved in serious research in order to replace some of the imports that the country was procuring
CS Kagwe also took the opportunity to condoled with the family of the late Captain Daudi Kibati, the pilot who evacuated Kenyans from New York and is being buried today.
“Together with his colleagues, they took a major risk and he was able to evacuate many Kenyans but only for him to succumb to the disease, he made the ultimate sacrifice, Kenyans owe him a great deal.”, the CS said
Health Acting Director General Dr. Patrick Amoth said statistics have shown starting from China where the virus started that more men than female were infected citing a similar trend in the country where 57 percent men and 43 percent women.
On the issue of extended mandatory quarantine for another 14 days for some people who are not practicing social distancing, Dr. Amoth warned that “if you do not behave you must face the consequences”.
Currently, he added that the age distribution of those infected with Coronavirus was between 2 years and 72 years thus even as adults take precautionary measures, they should not forget the children who were also vulnerable to infection.
He said country’s case fatality rate currently stood at 3 percent indicating some progress compared to other nations like Italy, Spain or even the United States whose rates surpassed 1000 mark in a day.
“Tough times are ahead. Let us not lower our guard and together if we work as we are doing we shall overcome”, Dr. Amoth cautioned.
By Wangare Ndirangu