Infections pass 1,000 mark as 66 new cases confirmed

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 20:06 |
Annett Gunther, Covid-19 tests us on how we treat ourselves. We can only beat the pandemic when we work together.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe extends partial lockdown of Nairobi’s Eastleigh and Mombasa’s Old Town for two more weeks. 

Bernice Mbugua and Zadock Angira

The government has extended the cessation of movement in and out of Eastleigh, Nairobi, and Old Town in Mombasa, by another 15 days as new high of 66 Covid-19 cases were reported yesterday, bringing the total infections in the country to 1,002.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the partial lockdown in the two areas will be in effect until June 6, the same day the national night curfew and cessation of movement in and out of five counties worst hit by the virus, will end. 

Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the curfew and movement in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Mandera for another three weeks.

Speaking yesterday during the daily media briefing in Nairobi, Kagwe directed that restaurants, eateries and malls in Eastleigh and Old Town will remain closed.

Kagwe said the extension had been necessitated by continued rise in new infections in the area.

This means residents of these areas will observe Eid-ul Fitr while under partial lockdown.

“We have taken more stringent measures and now you cannot leave the area to go to another area. This is because cases in these areas have continued to surge,” Kagwe said.

“We do not want to lock people in their houses,” Kagwe said, adding that people will still be at liberty to walk around the compound.

He said Mombasa “continues to be a challenge” with Likoni and Changamwe being the areas of concern.

Yesterday, Likoni recorded 10 cases, Kisauni had eight while Changamwe, Nyali, Jomvu and Mvita had three cases each.

New areas

“This means the area remains a hotspot and therefore we have decided to extend the lockdown,” Kagwe added.

In Nairobi, Kibra has 15 new cases, Langata (three), Starehe (two), Dagoretti (two), Westlands, Eastleigh, Mathare and Dandora recorded one each.

Kirinyaga and Makueni counties, which are new entrants into the list of counties reporting infections, recorded one case each. Kajiado had three of the new cases.

In Kirinyaga, the first case was reported at Kutus town while in Makueni the case came from Emali area. 

Sixty four of the new cases are Kenyans while one is a Somali and the other is Rwandese.

The age bracket of the new infections range from 10 to 64 years. In terms of gender distribution, 43 are males while 23 are females.

On a positive note, Kagwe said eight people had recovered and had been discharged from hospital.

He said notwithstanding the growing infections, Kenya had been able to keep its fatality rate at 5.6 per cent against the global average  of 6.6 per cent.

German donation

At the same time, the fight against the virus got a boost after Germany donated two mobile laboratories to be used in testing truck drivers.

German Ambassador to Kenya Annett Gunther, who handed over the laboratories, asked East African countries to collaborate in the fight against the virus.

“We can only beat Covid-19 if we work together as the East African Community member states,” she said, adding that all the six regional bloc countries will also get the mobile testing laboratories.

Günther said Germany will support the training of health workers in the use of the laboratories beginning next week.

“Covid-19 is a crisis that tests us on how we treat ourselves. We can only beat the pandemic when we work together,” she said.

Gunther said the laboratories will handle 800 tests per day.

“I hope that Kenya will overcome this crisis with little lives lost,” she added.

Twenty laboratories

East African Community and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed said the two mobile testing laboratories will go a long way in helping ease congestion at the borders where hundreds of truck drivers are stuck awaiting Covid-19 tests.

“We will use these at our borders in Namanga and Isibania among others. This will go a long way in curbing the spread of the virus.

Whether it will be drivers who will be benefiting from this or our health workers, we thank them for this,” said Mohamed.

Acting Director General for Health Dr Patrick Amoth said Kenya now has 20 Covid-19 laboratories spread across the country.

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