At least 455 people who were arrested for defying the presidential orders to observe the dusk to dawn curfew following the outbreak of Covid 19 pandemic were put under mandatory quarantine.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the curfew flouters will cool their heels at various isolation facilities in the country at their own cost to serve as a deterrent to others who appear to have taken the government’s directive casually
“We have quarantined 455 other persons at our isolation facilities for defying the national curfew regulations and this will be at their own cost” he said.
Speaking at the Kenyatta National Hospital ( KNH) when he launch a special designated isolation and treatment facility for healthcare workers, Kagwe revealed that the Pharmacy and Poisons Board was accelerating regulatory decisions to fast-track the approval of COVID-19 test kits.
“The Board is implementing stringent, expedited accreditation mechanism, which has shrunk the process from three months to 48 hours”, he said.
Using this approach, the CS added that the Board had authorized the employment of four test kits for detecting the virus to ensure that testing laboratories were diversified and decentralized as much as possible.
He stressed that defeating coronavirus required agile execution of testing and prompt management of confirmed cases and the country was determined to follow through such measures to contain further spread of the disease at all cost.
He said Kenya just like other countries was grappling with ways of controlling the highly contagious pandemic and had adopted the mantra of, test, isolate-treat- trace methodology to address the challenge.
He said some of the locally developed testing kits that were certified included COBAS SAR-COVID-2 TEST KIT by Roche Diagnostics, Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2- by Cepheid, Biofire Covid-19 Test by Biofire Defense LLC and Abbott by Abbot Molecular Inc which are currently being used.
With this approach the CS further said the country’s capacity for testing will be expanded from the current ten centres to cover at least one laboratory in each county and this was expected to take place in the next two weeks.
The CS noted that the current phase in the Covid 19 involved deployment of targeted testing with a focus on frontline healthcare workers, identified hotspot clusters in Nairobi and Mombasa as well as enhancing community-based surveillance and screening truck transit drivers.
With regard to isolation and quarantine facilities, he said that the country had 33 active quarantines centers, after some were closed down.
“Our success on treatment is highly dependent on our ability to protect our frontline healthcare workers and heroes in this fight and thus the government has distributed 4,759 complete Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits and 237,047 assorted components (Goggles, surgical masks, N95 masks, gloves, gowns, rubber boots, shoe covers etc).
The government, CS Kagwe noted has also trained 30,000 healthcare workers but targeted to cover at least 100,000 more practitioners in the next few weeks.
He said at least 1000 Police Officers and another 1000 National Youth Service (NYS) officers were trained to manage testing at various roadblocks while an additional 300 Prison Officers, and 53,000 Community Health Volunteers were enlisted on an online based module by Red Cross, AMREF and MoH.
He said that the facility launched at KNH will be able to offer both critical care and basic care services for healthcare workers and that all costs incurred during treatment shall be met by the Government.
“This centre is a product of collaboration between the MoH, the Rockefeller Foundation and AMREF. We thank them for this kind gesture”, the CS added.
CS Kagwe has appealed to National and County health facilities to settle any debts owed to oxygen suppliers and appealed to those holding oxygen cylinders to make plans to return them to suppliers, so that they can have them filled up.
“ I am aware we also have a number of Oxygen plants of our own. Facilities with such plants should make haste and repair what is not functional, but also do a quick cost-benefit analysis to ensure we get value for money”, he said
With regards to tracing, the CS noted that Eleven (11) more persons have tested positive for Coronavirus disease, bringing to 281 the total number of confirmed cases in the country.
Seven are Kenyans from Bondeni Old Town in Mombasa County and four were foreign nationals from Ruaka, Nairobi although none of the fresh cases had a travel history in recent times.
He added that Seven (7) of them were from our quarantine centers while the other four (4) were picked up by surveillance teams from various parts of the country and aged between 11 and 80 years.
The CS confirmed that Two (2) more patients have since recovered and have been discharged bringing to 69 the number of recoveries while the number of people lost to the virus remained at 14.
“A total of 2,778 contacts have been monitored, out of which 2,102 have been discharged. 676 contacts are being followed at the moment. A total of 13,872 samples have been tested so far, CS Kagwe explained.
The CS made a special appeal to the people in the counties of Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu and Murang’a to guard against the spread of corona virus from Nairobi county due to their proximity to the capital.
“Already, a number of your residents have been infected with the virus, and we have isolated them for treatment. In Machakos for instance, we have seven (7) cases; Syokimau (2) and one (1) each in Athi River, Kamulu, Rubi Garden Estate, Kithunguni and Viraji”, he said
In Kiambu County, fresh cases were detected in Githurai, Githurai 45, Ndongoru, Thindigua, Tinganga, Waithaka and Wataalam. Kajiado too, we have cases in Kitengela, Matasia and Ongata Rongai estates
In Murang’a, Kagwe said two cases were found in Gatanga and Lumumba Drive and that all these cases are being treated in various hospitals hoping that they will be the last of the cases in the said Counties
By Wangari Ndirangu