Kenyans found flouting the Covid 19 dusk to dawn curfew rule risk being locked up in quarantine facilities for 14 days, Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr, Mercy Mwangangi has said.
She said the government will no longer be soft on those breaking the curfew rule as those found outside the stipulated hours will be presumed to be suspect Covid 19 cases and held in designated isolation centres across the country.
“From now onwards, all those who will break the curfew rules will be assumed to have been in contact with suspected cases, hence will be quarantined for a period of 14 days” she warned
Dr Mwangangi also announced that a combined team of health officials and security personnel. Were deployed to screen all truck drivers and their assistants at entry points and roadblocks
She expressed fears that some unscrupulous businessmen were exposing Kenyans to infection following reports that they were recycling face masks for sale after collecting the used gears from bins.
“ We will crack the whip on anyone found endangering the lives of fellow Kenyans for selfish gains and I urge Kenyans to undertake a basic due diligence on the face masks they are buying so that they do not fall victim to the criminals” she said.
She called on the National Police Service, Kenya Bureau of Standards, National Environment and Management Authority (NEMA) and other relevant Government agencies to close in on such characters and take them to book.
Dr Mwangangi who was giving the daily update on the status of the Coronavirus in the country regretted that two more patients succumbed to the deadly disease bringing the number of fatalities to 14 since the outbreak was reported in the country.
She said over the last 24 hours, at least 1,330 Samples were tested out of which, eight turned positive for Coronavirus disease bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 270
The CAS said seven of the fresh cases were Kenyans but none including the foreign national had a history of travelling outside the country in recent times.
However three of the new cases emanated from quarantine centers and five (5) were picked by surveillance teams from various parts of the country.
Four (4) are from Mombasa, three (3) from Nairobi and one (1) from Kajiado Counties and they are aged between 17 and 65 years of age, she added
“I am glad to announce that we have seven (7) other discharges today taking the number of recoveries to 67. This is indeed very encouraging, and we hope many more will recover. Sadly, however, we have lost two (2) more patients thus raising the total number of deaths to 14”, Dr. Mwangangi said .
Just like Nairobi Breakdown yesterday, the CAS noted that the situation in Mombasa is not any better and that currently Nyali is leading with 11 cases followed by Mvita which has 7 cases, Kisauni 7 cases and Changmwe 2
Others are Bamburi which has reported 2, Beach Road (1), Mamba Village (1), Mogadishu (1), Mkomani-Tamarind (1), Maweni-Kongowea (1), Twiga Road (1) and Umoja (1)
So far a total of 2,661 contacts have been monitored, out of which 2,047 have been discharged. 614 contacts are being followed at the moment.
A total of 13,239 samples have been tested so far and Dr. Mwangangi reminded especially those in villages to the mantra of social distancing, washing hands often with soap and running water, weaing face masks, observing basic hygiene and stay at home.
Dr Mwangangi said the government had activated community policing initiative to bolster monitoring and surveillance operations to containing further spread of the coronavirus in the country.
She said going forward Community health workers will work closely with the Nyumba kumi imitative to improve Community based surveillance systems at road blocks and keep track of community activities during the post curfew period to avoid congregations.
She announced that the country had improved and decentralized testing capacities after the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and the Moi Teaching & Referral Hospital (MTRC) in Eldoret were equipped to undertake the exercise.
“Initially these samples had to be transported to far away testing centers but now the two facilities have been conducting tests in the last few days”, Dr. Mwangangi said.
Counties, the CAS said are required to take stock of their existing capacity including the health workers and available facilities.
She faulted Baringo Leaders who recently held gatherings for mass demonstration in Kabarnet town in total disregard of the crowding protocol assuming that having face masks was good enough to protect the masses from infection.
Dr. Mwangangi has also put on notice the wines and spirits that were now turned into drinking joints where crowds of revelers gathered saying they risked being shut as they were only licensed to offer drinks on takeaway.
On issues of nutrition, the CAS said that the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries & Cooperatives was putting final touches on specific guidelines to embed nutrition security in the COVID-19 national response.
This she added will entail food preservation guidelines, kitchen gardens toolkits, recipes for healthy snacks and guidelines to maintain healthy diets among others.
Cabinet Secretary, Trade and Industry Dr. Betty Maina said that the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has outlined specifications standards for for materials of production of mask and those outlined are for free at their website including certification of manufactures .
“ To date we have certified 9 government intuitions for manufacture of PPEs and 34 private who together can be able to produce 1.5 million face masks made of cloth each day”, she said
The CS further said that work is in progress in designing and approval of ventilators at various innovation centres namely Toyota Kenya, Kenyatta University, Dedan Kimathi University, Numerical Machine Complex and Kenya Association of Manufacturer Automotive sector.
There is local capacity of PPEs and face mask and that 5 certified companies that have already received orders from the Ministry of Health to be able to deliver she added.
“The ones that are there have been imported, we have samples in the office and at the MOH and are calling upon local industry to look at the samples available for them to be able to undertake the production locally” CS said.
Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof. George Magoha at the same time ruled out the cancellation or postponement of the national examinations saying the ministry was working in a methodical way to ensure everything was in place.
“Nobody is postponing the exams and to the best of government ability, children are getting online learning, parents are apprehensive but should also be fair to themselves. We refuse to be guided by fear mongers, we are optimistic “, he said noting that in the course of the next coming week they will give the scenarios that they have come up with on matters education
According to the government analysis 56 percent of all confirmed cases were imported, and only 44 percent have been locally transmitted. So far, it has succeeded to contain the imports and in the last few days, very few cases are emanating from our original quarantine centers and it is now the local transmissions that are worrying.
By Wangari Ndirangu