14 more people on Tuesday tested positive to Coronavirus as the government embarked on tougher measures to contain the highly contagious respiratory disease.
The latest figure brings to 172 the number of those infected since the first case of the pandemic was reported in the country on the 12th of March this year.
Health Officials also warned that the COVID 19 pandemic may drag for longer than expected unless Kenyans strictly observed the preventive measures to avert further spread of the highly contagious disease.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe expressed fears that it was not a matter of weeks but a long term process to fully eliminate the threat of corona virus and asked Kenyans to fight the pandemic at personal level.
“This is not going to be a short term activity, let us brace ourselves for the long term and I mean for the next couple of months”, he said.
The CS noted that the measures that announced by the President Uhuru Kenyatta during his address to the nation calls for drastic change in our lifestyles and behavior to minimize infections.
“We are at war as a Nation with an enemy that is invisible and to fight this enemy, more than ever before, we must remember to embrace simple and basic measures which have proved to be effective elsewhere”, he said
CS Kagwe warned that the government will not hesitate to take even bolder measures in the coming days, if need arises to protect the country from being overrun by this virus.
“The virus is already within us and we cannot let it run ahead of us and engage us on catchup and chasing games. Should we allow this to happen, it will be very difficult to catch up with it.”, he said
He said it was critically necessary that every Kenyan wears a face mask whilst in public spaces even as government endeavors to provide free protective gears through County Governments and other partners.
The government, he said was manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) locally and that currently there was an on-going production which will enhance our stock levels.
“The issue of insufficient PPEs is now a matter that has been fully been addressed. Nobody is going to lack. By the end of this week we will have 10,000 kits and after the seven days we will roll out over 200,000 kits”, he added
Kagwe has said all health workers including those in private hospitals, the rapid response teams and all staff in all facilities set for quarantined persons will now undergo testing.
The CS explained that medical personnel were not immune to the virus and thus it was necessary for them to be tested first.
“We have new re-agents that can be able to carry out and test quickly and once all the medical staff are done we can now go down to the infected counties and carry out mass testing”, he said
The CS noted that further measures to enhance social distancing that the government is going to institute are 1 all golf clubs will be closed forthwith while all open sporting clubs and walking fields who do not observe social distancing will also be closed.
In the last 24 hours CS Kagwe said that a total of 696 samples were tested out of which fourteen (14) people have tested positive for the Corona virus disease.
Twelve (12) of the fourteen are Kenyans while two (2) are foreign nationals. Four (4) of the cases have also recent history of travel from Tanzania, South Africa, UAE and USA.
“Four (4) of them are from the quarantine facilities while ten (10) were picked by our surveillance teams and this now brings the total number of those who have tested positive for the disease in the country to 172”, the CS said .
The fourteen (14) people , he explained have already been moved into isolation in various health facilities and contact tracing is ongoing.
The distribution of these new cases according to their Counties is Nairobi had 7 cases, Mombasa had 2, Mandera also had 2 cases while Machakos , Kisii and Kiambu had one each
“The two reported cases in Mandera County have a recent history of travel to Mombasa County” he said and that is the reason for government to include restriction of movement into and out of designated counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi.
With regard to contacts tracing, the CS said that a total of 1,928 persons have been monitored and out of these, 1,415 have been discharged and 513 are currently on follow up.
“To date, we have managed to test 4,973 samples from individuals. I am also pleased to announce that we have discharged three 3 additional individuals from hospital bringing to seven (7) the total number of individuals discharged.
On the issue of extra 14 day quarantined, CS Kagwe reiterated that the additional 14-days only applies to the facilities where positive cases were reported adding that despite the inconvenience to some of the individuals , it was necessary in order to protect the public.
Acting Director General, Ministry of health, Dr. Patrick Amoth said currently one person is in critical care unit, buy the other patients are doing well with very mild cases.
He explained that the fatality case of the country is still at 3 percent with 56 percent male and 44 percent female. The Age brackets are between 2 years and 74 years.
By Wangare Ndirangu