Kagwe says nine new Corona cases contracted locally

Thursday, April 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe yesterday reported nine new coronavirus infections, all of which were transmitted locally. 

The cases grew to 225 while Covid-19 deaths rose to 10 after another person succumbed to the virus.

The CS said of the nine new confirmed cases, none had history of travel, neither were they in the quarantine centres, an indication that the respiratory disease is now no longer imported, but spreading within communities. 

“In the last 24 hours we have tested 803 samples. All the nine positive cases are Kenyan nationals.

Five of the cases are from Nairobi and four are from Mombasa and they are aged between nine and 69 years,” Kagwe said during his daily briefing at Afya House, Nairobi.

The CS warned “unruly” Kenyans against taking the threat posed by coronavirus disease lightly.

He expressed dismay over the casual manner in which some Kenyans are taking measures put in place to combat the pandemic, saying it is akin to anarchy.

“We are deeply perturbed to see a section of Kenyans who are not cooperating with the police.

This is akin to inviting anarchy at a time when we are fighting a bigger challenge,” he said, citing a case in which citizens were captured throwing stones at police officers enforcing the curfew.

Tracing of persons

The CS said recoveries rose to 53 after 12 more people were discharged. A total number of 2,336 contacts have been monitored, out of which 1, 911 have been discharged, he said. 

The CS noted that the ministry tracing some 455 persons who might have come in contact with some of the new cases. 

“You will note that our 4.6 per cent death rate is within the global range of 6.3 per cent. Our figures should, therefore, not delude or deceive you into dropping the ball,” the Minister stated.  

He noted that it was too early to celebrate saying that Kenya’s situation is not different from what other countries reported in their early stages. 

“Let me send out a word of caution; we are not out of danger yet. A comparative review of countries now being overrun by the virus shows that they were reporting similar figures as we are now,” he cautioned.

Globally, the coronavirus cases stood at 2,000,984 last evening, with 128,071 deaths  according to Johns Hopkins University tally. 

The US leads with the number of cases as well as deaths at 609,696 and 26,059, respectively.

Kagwe said the government has embarked on a mass testing exercise which he said will be a  game-changer because more cases, including the asymptomatic ones could be unearthed. 

“The battle will be won not by the government but by Kenyans working together,” he said. 

Key measures the government has taken to curb the spread of the virus include the dusk-to-dawn curfew countrywide and restriction of movement in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi.

Mapped out

Kenyans are also now required to wear face masks while in public, failure of which they will be arrested and prosecuted. 

On Tuesday, the Health ministry said that 12,000 testing kits will be used in the first phase of screening, adding that high risk areas such quarantine centres, hotels, isolation facilities, hospitals and high population density had been mapped out. 

Some of the areas targeted include Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya Ports Authority in Mombasa where three deaths have been reported and ten cases confirmed as well as parts of Mandera and Siaya counties.

Kagwe announced he had dispatched a high-level team, led by Health acting Director-General Dr. Patrick Amoth, to Siaya to monitor the quarantine and isolation facilities there.

He said that personal protective equipment and other supplies had been sent to the county

Kagwe said the government had received a consignment of 18, 900 swabs and viral transport medium, 18, 912 extraction kits, 3,790 medical disposable protective clothing, ventilation machines, thermometer guns  and medical gloves from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. 

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