The Government has restricted movement into and out of Mandera County after eight people tested positive of coronavirus, becoming the fifth County after Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale.
Giving an update today on the status of Coronavirus and the preparedness of the Country, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said this is a dangerous situation considering that Mandera is a corner county with neighbours on two sides and is affected by travel from other parts of the country.
According to the CS, in the last 24 hours, 707 samples have been tested out of which seven people tested positive for coronavirus bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 303. All the seven are Kenyans, six from Mombasa and one from Nairobi.
The CS disclosed that six of the cases are from the targeted mass testing and one was picked by the Ministry surveillance teams. Five of the positive cases are males and two are females all aged between 21-61 years and none of them has a recent history of travel,” he said.
The CS also noted that nine patients have recovered and have been discharged bringing the total number of recoveries to 83. So far the Government has tested a total of 15,124 samples. Mass testing exercise for Covid 19 is on-going in targeted high risk areas, which include healthcare workers, teh CS confirmed and added that currently, the government has 25,000 testing kits which have been deployed for the activity.
“Globally every country is working on testing targets. All have fallen short of these targets because of the disrupted global supply chain. Our plan is to conduct 250,000 tests by June. However, this 250,000 will not match our population,” he said,
The CS, however, said that the government is collaborating with the development partners to ramp up surveillance testing mechanism which entails community-based surveillance, hospital-based surveillance and population-based surveillance.
For the community-based surveillance, CS said they are targeting 100,000 households and for hospital-based surveillance 20 hospitals in 16 regions have been mapped out.
“All this is being done under an overarching five-year public health security framework that we have worked out and our Corona response is therefore nested on this policy,” he noted.
The challenge we have over and above Corona, Kagwe noted is to keep an eye on the other healthcare challenges. He called on all Counties to ensure continuity of health services, without losing sight of Corona, adding that in the coming days they should be prepared to share County health service delivery scorecards.
The CS also emphasized that the government is particularly concerned about mental health and has established a psychiatric and psychological care help framework over this period.
“We have to be alive to the effect that COVID-19 management measures has had on our people. If you feel distressed and need counselling or psychological care, please call 1199 and you will be attended to,” he advised.
He also highlighted that Covid-19 cases in Somalia have multiplied nine-fold in a single week from 26 cases on April 13 to 237, by yesterday. In our neighbouring Tanzania, the numbers have swollen sevenfold from 32 cases to 254 within the same period. These developments should concern us,” CS Kagwe said.
“Given these realities, the general sentiment of comfort that is being witnessed in the Country is misplaced especially when we as a nation are complacent with a few officials exploiting this pandemic for personal gain. The idea that we can break curfews and not suffer any ramifications, then we know that we are heading in the wrong direction, he noted.
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