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Focus turns to counties amid coronavirus spread

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 00:00 |
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

Noah Cheploen @cheploennoah

In what could portend tougher times ahead in the fight against coronavirus, the Ministry of Health has warned Kenyans to be more vigilant as the virus has spread across the country.

During the ministry’s daily briefing in Nairobi yesterday, Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Mercy Mwangangi said coronavirus has been reported in at least 21 counties with Nairobi having the highest cases of infections at 101 followed by Mombasa at 34. 

Counties that have now come into the limelight in the fight against coronavirus include Kilifi (10), Kiambu (seven), Mandera and Machakos (six each), Nakuru (five)  and Kisii one case.

Others are: Kitui, Laikipia, Kajiado, Muranga, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Siaya, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga and Kwale which have reported one or two cases each in the last few days.

“Despite the measures we have put in place, we have witnessed a phenomenon where the virus is increasingly moving to counties,” said Mwangangi.

The official made the remarks even as it emerged that eight people tested positive in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of Corona cases to 216. The CAS said the patients had history of travel to countries including Zambia, the United Kingdom and Comoros.

Curb Spread

Six of the new cases were reported in Nairobi, one in Siaya and another in Nakuru after the analysis of 649 samples, she said, adding that one more person recovered and was discharged, raising the total number of recoveries to 41.

“The virus is now domiciled across the length and breadth of our republic, from down Coast in Kilifi to Mandera in the North; from Vihiga in the West to Kitui in the East. We have been able to collate the number of cases per county,” she said.

As a result, the official said the central government will work more closely with the devolved units to curb spread of the disease and avert loss of lives. 

“In this regard, we are rolling out mass testing exercise taking into consideration the risk profiles of clusters; in Nairobi for instance we shall prioritise the quarantine centres, hotels, isolation facilities and hospitals, these form top four priority areas in Nairobi,” she said.

She said Kibera has been identified in Nairobi as one of the key cluster (or hot spot in case of outbreak) and therefore, it is one of the areas targeted for mass testing which is expected to start soon. 

The CAS said 12,000 testing kits will be used in the first phase which starts immediately. 

At the same time, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau said five Kenyans died of  coronavirus in the US in the last month while hundreds of others are stuck in various countries that have imposed lockdowns. He said that the five had underlying medical conditions. 

Kamau said some 160 Kenyans who had travelled to India with their relatives to seek treatment are currently stuck there.

On China, he said close to 3,000 Kenyans are there but that no deaths had been reported.

The PS said there are two suspected deaths of Kenyans in Sweden. He also reported a recovery in Rwanda and another in Qatar.

At the same time, the government has raised the red flag over increasing cases of gender-based violence and sexual violence during the coronavirus period.

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