Brace for tough times, Health Cabinet Secretary warns Kenyans

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 00:00 |
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe. Photo/PD/Kenna Claude

Irene Githinji @gitshee

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe yesterday told Kenyans to brace for tougher times ahead in the fight to tame coronavirus spread as 14 more new cases were confirmed bringing the total to 182.

He, however, said the measures, though painful, were necessary even as he assured that the country will conquer the deadly respiratory flu, which has claimed six lives. Four people have fully recovered.

Addressing a news conference during his daily briefing, Kagwe announced further measures, which include immediate closure of golf clubs and enforcement of social distancing at open sporting clubs, saying Kenyans must adhere to the other guidelines to the tame Covid-19 disease.

“Sporting clubs that have walking fields must strictly observe social distancing. We have seen people walking to stay healthy but we must observe social distances.

In some of these sporting people are running next to each other and there is no better ways of passing the virus than this. Managers of those walking clubs must restrict numbers in the club,” he said.

The CS said the government has rolled out plans for mass testing of health care workers in all hospitals and designated quarantine facilities, to ensure they are not exposed to the coronavirus disease.

Quarantined persons

Kagwe said testing would commence immediately as government also moves to provide accommodation for healthcare workers to avoid further spread of the disease.

All health workers and medical staff including those in private hospitals, rapid response teams and all staff of all facilities holding quarantined persons must commence testing with immediate effect,” said the CS, in his daily updates at Afya House, Nairobi.

He said the government seeks to ensure there are no medical staff treating people while they themselves have the virus thus, passing the virus to citizens.

Similarly, acting Health Director General Dr Patrick Amoth said plans are underway to offer accommodation to healthcare workers handling confirmed cases to contain spread of the virus.

“Following a meeting with senior Government officials yesterday (Tuesday), suitable accommodations has been identified at Hadassah Hotel for the health care workers and a team from Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Council is to identify extra facilities so that those who come into contact with these cases do not go home but to a specific place hence prevent close contamination with members of their families and the public as they move home,” said Dr Amoth.

Contract tracing

Out of the 696 samples tested in the last 24 hours, 14 tested positive for the coronavirus disease  raising the number to 182, 12 of whom are Kenyans and two foreign nationals.

Four of the cases have a recent history of travel to Tanzania, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and the USA.

Four of the 14 are from quarantine facilities while 10 were picked by surveillance teams.

With regards to distribution of the new cases by counties, seven are from Nairobi, two from Mombasa, one from Machakos, Kisii  and Kiambu respectively and another two from Mandera.

In terms of gender distribution, eight of the new cases are male and six females between the ages of five and 56.

With regards to contact tracing, 1,928 have been monitored out of which 1,415 have been discharged and 513 are currently on follow up. To date, 4,973 samples have been tested.

 An additional three persons have been discharged bringing the total number to seven. Of the confirmed cases, one person is in critical condition but out of danger while a majority of cases are mild.

He stressed the need to observe measures to stop the spread of the disease including wearing masks while in public spaces.

“The measures call for drastic change in the way we live and behave. It is not convenient but must not be afraid to embrace that which will save us from the danger lurking around us.

We are at war with an enemy that is invisible. To fight this enemy we must observe basic measures considered best practices we will not hesitate to take even bolder measures in coming days the virus is here with us and cannot run away from it,” said the CS. 

He said the government will not hesitate to take even bolder measures in coming days if it becomes necessary to protect the country from being overrun by the virus.

The CS lauded health workers in all hospitals who have worked, sometimes under very difficult circumstances to fight the virus.

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