The country has surpassed the 200 mark of confirmed cases of corona virus after 11 more people tested positive to the highly contagious disease..
This brings the national tally to 208 persons who have been confirmed in the country, exactly one month since the government confirmed the first Coronavirus case.
Speaking during an update on the government’s preparedness on the disease, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said out of the 674 samples tested in the last 24 hours six males and five females of ages between 1 and 42 years have tested positive.
All the eleven are Kenyans and four of them have a history of travel from UAE”, he said adding that Counties of residence of the 11 are Mandera which has 4 cases, Mombasa has 3, Nairobi 2 while Nakuru and Machakos has 1 each.
He further explained that four of the cases emanated from the mandatory quarantine centers, while seven (7) were picked by the surveillance teams.
Over the same period, CS Kagwe noted that fourteen (14) more persons have been discharged from hospital and one other positive case that was on home-based care turned negative after the mandatory two tests.
“Cumulatively we have fifteen (15) new recoveries in the last 24 hours, bringing the total figure of recoveries to forty (40)”, he said .
The country, the CS said had unfortunately lost one more patient from Nairobi bringing the number of deaths to nine.
So far a total of 2,306 contacts have been monitored, out of which 1,687 have been discharged and 619 contacts are being followed at the moment.
CS Kagwe has also reacted to the burial of the COVID-19 disease victim in Siaya County which has raised concerns saying the issue is currently being addressed together with County government of siaya in line with public health protocols.
“However, I want to inform the country that moving forward, there shall be challenges in the manner in which we dispose the bodies of our loved ones. I therefore want to ask our people to be mentally prepared, and accept that COVID-19 victim bodies shall be disposed in accordance with the MoH protocol”, he said.
The CS also came out to address Employers who are treating their employees in an inhumane manner by sending them on unpaid leave asking them to be considerate and to negotiate with their employees during this period.
“We appreciate that times are hard but can you at least consider giving them a minimum requirement to put a meal on their tables”, he appealed.
CS Kagwe said a lot has happened within the month since the first confirmation of the disease such as schools and worship places closing, restriction of movements and also our economy being affected.
However the CS reiterated that this can also be turned around within short periods of time if all strictly adhere to the preventive measures that have been put in place.
Government has upscaled the level of preparedness and bought Kshs.140 million worth of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE’s), tested 8,123 samples from quarantined persons and their contacts , Prepared and mapped the country for upcoming mass testing and also mobilized 500 ventilators for critical care.
It has also manufactured and distributed millions of litres of sanitizer, designated health facilities for COVID-19 management at both National and County levels and also sensitized over 100,000 health workers and community health volunteer
“We have also set up isolation and quarantine facilities with a capacity of 1,664 beds across the counties and also developed and circulated COVID-19 protocols on pediatric response, community response to COVID-19 and a fund”, Kagwe said .
Meanwhile Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha said the government was offering online education through a battery of systems and children are carrying on with their learning as expected.
On the children who cannot access online education, Prof. Magoha said the matter was being addressed through various machineries.“ the children are at home and safe”, he said
Commenting on the controversial burial of Covid 19 victim in Siaya, prof. Magoha said that the government’s goal was to ensure that the disease was controlled. “We have given various protocol that must be observed and some of the cultural traditions must be discarded at this for the safety of community and immediate family of the deceased to avert infections.
Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said the ministry was working hard to ensure there was sufficient capacity in terms of internet so that people can have the connectivity and video conferencing facilities that exist.
“The internet balloons that were launched by the president will come in time and will allow even school classes all over the country to be conducted through video conference and infrastructure facilities that we are putting in place”, he said
At the moment, CS Mucheru noted it was not clear how long this pandemic will persist hence the need to be prepared and be set, thanking the mobile operators for the support they have put in including the network providers to ensure that there was sufficient bandwidth in the country for those who want to continue working from homes and mobile devises.
“There is plenty of work that is available online and even in the international communities, so as a team we are working together on the Ajira platforms just to let people know where the jobs are and where they can contribute and earn some money”, Mucheru explained.
Isiolo Governor Muhammed Kuti called upon County Emergency Response Committees to put more effort in addressing issues of social distancing in open markets, supermarkets and also within towns.
“ We are starting to see confirmed cases appearing in counties and this is worrying “, he said mentioning a county like Mandera which initially started with 2 cases and now today has 4 more cases while also other counties such as Machakos also confirming “, he said .
Dr. Kuti noted that people in the Counties are not taking the issue of Covid 19 seriously thinking that it is a foreign matter that has only come to Nairobi and this he termed as very worrying.
Dr. Patrick Amoth, Ag. Director General Ministry of Health said that out of 142 cases admitted in various hospital in the country, 140 are in stable condition and only two are in a critical condition.
He further said that the government is working hard to ensure that Health care workers do not get exposed by providing all the support and gear to make them comfortable.
By Wangari Ndirangu