The government has operationalized Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital to handle corona virus cases.
The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Health (CS), Mutahi Kagwe said on Saturday that currently, 20 COVID-19 have been isolated at the hospital.
“We have also started moving persons admitted at the facility depending on their status to prevent them from infections,” he added.
In order to avoid congestion, the CS noted that the Ministry has also made arrangements for home based care where possible.
The CS who was giving daily update on the status of coronavirus situation in the country confirmed an additional four cases of the novel coronavirus bringing the total country tally to 126.
He said the four, three Kenyans and one Pakistani, arose from 372 samples tested over a 24hr period between Friday and Saturday.
The CS said out of the 2, 050 people who have been in mandatory quarantine, 1866 have been tested with an outstanding balance of 184.
“Contact tracing is the largest activity of the government and so far, out of 1781 contacts monitored 1100 people have been discharged and 672 people are being monitored in the follow up programme,” Kagwe said.
The CS however, expressed disappointment with some of the people under quarantine whom he said have disregarded the social distancing directive by even holding parties.
“The government has now instructed medical officials to extend the quarantine for another 14 days because those people might have interacted with positive cases,” he said.
The largest number who have tested positive are those that are under quarantine, Kagwe said, adding that those going against the protocol of social distancing were the most likely to cause more transmission among those who have been sharing the facilities.
“To secure Kenyans is an activity and a position that we regrettably have to take. If the medical personnel feel it necessary for those already in quarantine time to be extended it will be done,” Kagwe said.
Meanwhile, the government has appealed to the youth in the country to join in efforts being undertaken to combat the Covid-19 disease.
“The youth are the biggest component of our society and also people who are largely mobile and have got energy to help in fighting the disease,” Kagwe noted as he made the passionate appeal.
He explained that according to glaring Global statistics, youth were mostly the ones contacting the disease given their mobility but at the same time, they were safer than the older people whose immunity is low.
The CS called upon the youth to become part of the solution to the programmes by taking measures, such as not travelling upcountry, organizing themselves as they have been doing so in terms of sanity in matatu saccos, markets, cleaning exercises and even in sporting activities.
“If they organize themselves in the similar format and take responsibility they can reach a new impetus and create a difference between the way we are handling things in the Kenya compared to others countries” he noted.
The CS insisted that it is the responsibility of each and every person to ensure measures such as social distancing were adhered. “We cannot police social distancing and therefore only you can take responsibility,” he said.
Kagwe urged those going to supermarkets to also use masks just like in the public transport, saying that scarcity was no longer of masks was no longer an excuse as they could be manufactured locally.
“I want to urge any person visiting a supermarket or open air market to wear protective masks to prevent transmission in those areas,” he said.
Apart from being able to manufacture the protective equipment locally that will keep health workers safe and secure, the CS said laboratories in KEMRI were involved in serious research in order to replace some of the imports that the country has been procuring on other testing kits to ensure sustainability in testing operations.
Kagwe has also condoled with the family of Captain Daudi Kibati, the pilot who evacuated Kenyans on KQ’s last flight from New York.
“Together with his colleagues, they took a major risk and he was able to evacuate many Kenyans but only for him to succumb to the disease. He made the ultimate sacrifice and Kenyans owe him a great deal,” the CS said.
The Health Acting Director General, Dr. Patrick Amoth said statistics have shown starting from China where the virus started, more male than females were being infected, noting that in the Kenya, the statistics stood at 57 percent men.
On the issue of extended mandatory quarantine for another 14 days for some people who were not practicing social distancing, Dr. Amoth said “if you do not behave, you must face the consequences”.
Currently, he added that the age distribution in the country on Coronavirus is 2 years and 72 years thus even as adults take precautionary measures, they should not forget the children on personal hygiene such as washing hands and sanitizing.
The Country’s case fatality rate is at 3 percent which shows we have made progress if one compared to countries such as Italy, Spain or even the United States which in the last 24 hours had more than 1, 400 deaths.
“Tough times are ahead. Let us not lower our guard and together if we work as we are doing, we shall overcome,” Dr. Amoth said.
By Wangari Ndirangu