The government plans to put up a mobile testing laboratory unit at Namanga border post in a week’s time to facilitate to facilitate Covid 19 testing of long distance truck drivers.
The facility according to health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr. Rashid Aman will be key in surveillance and monitoring of cross the border transmission of the highly contagious virus after several cases were detected at the crossing point.
He said the mobile lab to be intiated under the East African Community programme aims at improving disease surveillance between member states in a collaborative move to tame the spread of the pandemic.
“Through this programme, we will receive two mobile laboratories for Kenya and will be used for molecular work and testing for Covid and hopefully within the next one week one lab will be in Namanga to address the testing of the drivers”, he said ,
The CAS explained that for the testing programme which encompasses several testing centres spread across the country, the government has developed resource plans and earmarked resources for testing
“The Testing levels have continued to increase despite the constraints caused by the acute shortage of re- agents but now our testing ability will not be betters”, he said
Dr. Rashid however informed the nation during his daily update of the status of the pandemic that the government received a consignment of 8,000 tests kits and an additional 18,000 more were expected later in the week.
More supplies are on the pipeline to boost our operations as we have procured more kits to be supplied at the end of the month and expect another consignment in the month of July will be sufficient for us to do targeted testing even as we focus on border point of Namanga “, he said
He said at least 35,432 people have been tested so far since the first case was reported in the country.
Dr Rashid also announced that twenty more people tested positive to Covid 19 during the latest sampling of suspect cases bringing the national tally of those infected to 737.
He said the fresh infection were found out of 1516 samples taken for testing over the last 24 hours.
He said 21 of the fresh cases were are Kenyans while 1 was a Ugandan with the youngest being 20 and the oldest is 80years.
He said health officials had collected samples from track drivers at the border points and found that 25 tested positive for Covid 19 out of whom 23 were Tanzanians while the other two were a Rwandese and Ugandan nationals respectively .
“We are carrying out these tests of the track drivers on the Tanzanian side and they remain on that side”, he clarified.
The 22 cases distribution is Nairobi has 10 cases, Mombasa 8 cases Kajiado has 3 and One from Bomet which now has joined the ranks of Counties that have recorded positive Covid cases and now brings the total of 20 counties affected in the country.
The spread of Covid in Estates has seen Embakasi in Nairobi recording 4 cases, Kamukunji has 3, Kibera 2 and KNH has 1. In Mombasa, 7 cases are from Mvita , and one from Nyali. Kajiado 3 cases are from Namanga/
Today the government has also discharged 22 people from hospital bringing the total number of recoveries to 281. However the country has also lost 4 patients, 3 from Nairobi and 1 from Mombasa bringing the total number of lost lives due to Covid pandemic at 40.
Meanwhile. Dr. Rashid has warned some of the youths who under the National Hygiene Initiative programme that was aimed to economically empower them have now come out to undermine the objective of the program by forcefully demanding money from individuals within their neighbourhoods while others are harassing and robbing commuters under the pretext that they are not wearing masks or not observing social distancing.
“While the intention is noble, it is being implemented in the wrong way. I want to remind our young people that they are the ones who should lead in this fight, but only in the right way. Should they continue to behave in this manner, we run the risk of lowering the level of compliance, which has the potential to negate all the gains so far made”, dr. Rashid Said
Businesses that also operate within the areas were movement has been restricred especially counties in the Coast and North Eastern regions and localities within the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa have also been put on notice.
“This businesses are taking advantage of the situation by hiking prices of commodities and other essential goods that they are selling. This is totally immoral as they try to profiteer out this pandemic. I want to appeal to these vendors to be more considerate as these are not normal times. These are the times when we must be each other’s keeper”, he said .
Ag. Director General Ministry of Health Dr. Patrick Amoth said testing at the border is imperative for the governments along the borders in accordance with the WHO guidelines saying that even as Kenya continues to test and report , likewise they expect the neighboring countries to also do so as Members of WHO.
On the Mobile Laboratory that will be set in Namanga border points, Dr. Amoth said it will address the snarl up at the border and ensure seamless movement of cargo from our neighboring country.
He acknowledged that there is still a big challenge on the border points because of the disease burden from the neighbours especially those who might be using panya routes.
“ We are asking the community living along the border points to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement from neighboring countries so that we can be able to map out specific interventions to ensure security of Kenyan people”, Dr. Amoth said
By wangari Ndirangu