The government will scale up mass testing for coronavirus in the coming weeks to uncover how far the disease has spread in the country.
The Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Dr. Rashid Aman said the government would first concentrate on counties with high number of covid-19 cases.
He defended the government move, saying there could be more cases in the country than ‘are known about’ and ‘mass testing is a sure way to calculate true spread of coronavirus’.
Dr. Aman said the government was determined to press ahead with mass testing since it was a sure way to capture the true scale of the virus across the 47 counties.
He said with mass testing, patients who have no idea that they were even sick since they were asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) would be flagged out.
“Asymptomatic carriers play a big role in the spread of the pandemic far and wide and we need to stop that through mass testing,” he said.
He said findings from other countries hard hit by the pandemic indicated that many people were infected but had no symptoms of covid-19.
He spoke on Wednesday while on a fact finding mission at the Lunga Lunga border town in Kwale that straddles the Kenya-Tanzania border.
The CAS pointed out that they would prioritize government ministry employees and areas with high populations such as informal settlements in urban areas to create a full epidemiological picture of the outbreak.
Dr. Aman was accompanied by his counterparts in the ministries of Transport and Interior Chris Obure and Hussein Dado.
Obure said beyond giving the true number of infections, the mass testing would ascertain the exposure of various groups to the virus.
He said people over 60 years of age and those with previous medical conditions have a higher risk of being infected by the virus and should adhere to the stay-at-home orders.
“The mass testing will also target high risk population such as healthcare workers and older people who are susceptible to infections,” he said.
Covid-19 symptoms include fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, muscle pain, repeated shaking with chills and sore throat.
By Hussein Abdullahi