Another patient succumbed to Covid 19 this Thursday bringing the number of fatalities since the outbreak of the pandemic was declared in the country to seven.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the latest death occurred in Mombasa as five more people tested positive to the highly contagious diseases further pushing the national tally on those infected to 184.
He also informed the nation that the country was making some gain in the fight to contain the pandemic after four patients were finally discharged bringing number of those who fully recovered from the viral disease to 12.
“In the last 24 hours, a total of 308 samples were tested out of which five turned positive for the Coronavirus but we have to appreciate the fact that we are making tremendous gains in the war against the pandemic” he said.
Out of the 5 positive cases the CS told the daily brief on the status of the disease that three of the latest Covid 19 patients were Kenyans while the other two were foreign nationals.
He however said three of the patients had a history of travelling recently from Tanzania, United Kingdom and United Arabs Emirates respectively before they developed symptoms of the disease.
Kagwe gave the breakdown of the cases saying three were detected in Nairobi while the other two were found in Mombasa County and that only patient was being held in one of the official mandatory quarantine facilities when the test was conducted.
He the health officials were doing follow up on at least 598 suspect cases after 1448 out of the 2046 people were under observation were cleared.
“Out of the 2050 persons admitted in quarantine facilities 880, have been discharged. We have managed to close down a number of quarantine facilities, which include Trademark and Hill Park Hotels’ the CS said.
He appealed to Kenyans to warmly receive those who have been at the facilities but insisted that they maintain their guard to avert further spread of the disease.
Kagwe at the same time took the opportunity to warned boda boda operators who are still flouting the rules and measures put in place to combat the corona virus pandemic
“We have noted with serious concern, that our Boda Boda operators are not fully observing the directive of carrying only one passenger while some ignore to wear face masks” Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said.
The CS said the riders risked not only their bikes being impounded by the authority but also their livelihoods. “The bodaboda riders are the same people who are being used to flout movements restrictions in and out of the designated counties of Nairobi, Kwale , Mombasa and Kilfi.
“Let me remind you that we will not hesitate to introduce even stiffer measures in the best interest of the country”, he warned them and asked all operators to observe the already set measures in order to protect their businesses.
CS Kagwe has further called on small businesses to take the necessary precaution while operating in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus
He noted that the country’s economy relied on small scale traders like the hair dressers, vegetable vendors and barbers but asked the operators to maintain higher standards of hygiene and safety by wearing protective gears to minimize spread of the disease.
Kagwe expressed fears that failure to follow protocol was likely to compel the government to apply extreme measures to achieve compliance.
“we cannot allow Kenyans to die because of non-distancing in any sector, so am appealing to those of you who are carrying out the hair cutting business and saloons to ensure social distancing , fumigation of working places and masks use at all times”, he said .
The CS noted that although there were gains the governments had made in the fight to combat the Coronavirus pandemic, the level of exposure of face masks being sold in the streets was wanting.
Besides ascertaining their quality with the Ministry of Health, CS kagwe urged everybody to take necessary precaution to maintain their level of hygiene saying the sector remained a high risk zone for possible infection.
He lauded the efforts being done by the County Government of Kitui, whose governor Charity Ngilu had unveiled mass production of face masks at the Kitui County Textile Centre (KICOTEC) where an average of 30,000 pieces were being processed every day.
At the Same time, CS Kagwe has cautioned Kenyans not to travel even within their counties during this time of Easter holidays urging them to stay in their houses and within their estates
“Because people are not going to jobs, no parties, no bars then where are you going”, the CS said making a special plea to all Kenyans to strictly stay at home and observe all the protocol to keep the Covid 19 away.
“Do not host parties, and make the usual Easter visits. Stay at home, By people staying at home they will not only be helping the government but will also be protecting themselves from contracting coronavirus.
On the issue of mask that is now mandatory for those in public, Dr. Amoth said it was important that before one puts on a mast to wash their hands properly, ensure they also put it on well by holding by the ears and ensuring they cover the both the mouth and nose.
‘A mask should not be used for more than 12 hours and after that is should be discarded properly”, he explained and also urging those who are wearing gloves and they are not health workers in a health care facility to stop doing so since it will not protect them against covid 19.
Dr. Amoth said that they are also in discussion with the government of Japan who have developed an antiviral Avigan for treating coronavirus and which has show very good promises.
By Wangari Ndirangu