The government will install oxygen plants in over 20 counties by the end of August, a move which is aimed at boosting the fight against Covid-19, Ministry of Health (MoH) Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe has announced.
Kagwe said that as the government makes arrangements to install the Oxygen plants, counties should ramp up efforts to install oxygen piping in their healthcare facilities to ensure maximum utilization of the plants.
“What we are asking in all counties indeed is for them to install oxygen pipes instead of relying on oxygen cylinders. This is because most of our hospitals are currently full and the availability of oxygen is what will save our people,” said Kagwe as he urged counties to actively ramp up the necessary infrastructure, including critical care facilities, isolation centers, increased human resource and testing capacity.
Speaking at Harambee house while giving the resolutions of a virtual National Emergency and Response Committee on Coronavirus meeting, Kagwe said that the number of COVID-19 cases has in the recent days risen sharply countrywide, signalling an urgent need to review the mitigation measures put in place at the end of June 2021.
“Recent data from the hotspot counties in the Nyanza and Western regions show that the measures adopted and implemented by the Government resulted in marked decrease in the number of severe cases. However, we are observing an increase in cases in other counties including Kiambu, Kajiado, Lamu, Makueni, Murang’a, Nairobi, Nyandarua, Taita Taveta and Tana River.
This observation is consistent with projections of increased spread of COVID-19 in the months of July and August associated with the more transmissible Delta variant which is becoming the dominant strain,” explained the CS.
Kagwe said that the National Emergency and Response Committee on Coronavirus held a meeting to review the obtaining situation on Covid-19 and emphasized the Presidential directives which are already in place. “In line with the directive to avoid crowded places where transmission has been shown to be more likely, all public gatherings and in-person meetings of whatever nature have been suspended countrywide. In this regard, all Government including Intergovernmental meetings and conferences be converted to virtual or postponed,” said Kagwe.
The CS said that all forms of physical and congregational worship in the country that is churches, mosques and temple are permitted as per the guidance of the Inter-Faith Council protocols insisting that in-person worship should be limited to a third of the capacity of the venue in strict adherence with the guidelines and protocols of the Ministry of Health.
“All restaurants and eateries should ensure they operate in strict adherence to the protocols provided by the Ministry of Health. The hours of the ongoing nationwide curfew to continue across the Country, starting from 10:00 p.m. and ending at 4:00 a.m. until further notice. This applies to the counties in the lake region as well,” said Kagwe.
Kagwe said that all employers including public and private sector, Government offices, businesses and companies have been directed to allow employees to work from home, except for employees working in critical or essential services, until further notice.“Members of the public are strongly advised against self-medicating and use of Over the Counter (OTC) medicines for treatment of respiratory tract infections but seek medical attention from qualified healthcare workers instead,” said Kagwe.
Kagwe strongly encouraged Kenyans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 saying that this is the surest way to get protected from COVID-19 and to protect our loved ones and everyone else from the disease insisting that high vaccination coverage will allow our country to resume normalcy.
With regards to the education sector, Kagwe said that the current evidence and data does not reflect an increase in cases among learning institutions and indeed, morbidity and mortality among school going children has been low. “Nonetheless, to ensure safe continued learning in our educational institutions, all teachers are strongly implored to present themselves for vaccination against COVID-19,” said Kagwe.
He said that counties have been urged to ensure they have adequate PPE’s including the level two and three hospitals where more people are presenting themselves and this will protect the health workers from contracting the disease at the hospital level.
“In this regard the MoH has directed that KEMSA supply the PPEs to counties despite their pending bill status because there are some counties that are saying they cannot get the PPEs on grounds that they have not been paid by treasury and KEMSA is refusing to give them the PPE’s,” said Kagwe.
The CS also called upon counties to ensure they enforce the 72-hour period of disposal of remains of deceased persons explaining that funeral meetings have been observed as transmission centers thus the urged to have burials as soon as possible.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a