Coronavirus alert: 14 high risk counties identifi*d

Thursday, March 5th, 2020 08:00 | By
Mbagathi District Hospital, one of the facilities which have been categorised as an isolation/quarantine area in Nairobi in case of a corona outbreak. Photo/PD/KENNA CLAUDE

The government has identified 14 counties as high risk areas where residents face chances of being infected with the coronavirus.

Consequently, the government said it would enhance high surveillance in the identified areas with more trained health personnel being posted there.

Counties identified as high risk include Kisumu, Busia, Migori, Kajiado, Wajir, and Garissa for their proximity to the international borders. 

Nairobi is also included in the high risk areas due to its being the region’s biggest commercial hub and hosting  the biggest port of entry at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Epidemic response

Ministry of Health’s Disease Surveillance and Epidemic Response head Dr Daniel Lang’at  said  Mombasa and Kilifi were identified because they are seaport counties.

“We have also identified Nakuru, Machakos and Uasin Gishu because they are transit counties,” he said at UNEP headquarters during a news cafe hosted by UNICEF and WHO.

Kiambu and Kakamega counties have also been looped into the high risk areas because of the proximity to Nairobi and Busia respectively.

Langat said the Wolrd Health Organisation (WHO) has identified Kenya as a high risk area  due to human trafficking between it and some of the affected countries, huge number of Chinese nationals in the country and the social cultural practices like shaking of hands.

Lang’at added Kenya can test the first 100 samples of any suspected cases of the Covid-19 disease either at the National Influenza Centre or the Kenya Medical Research Institute.

He also annouced that as of Wednesday, 342,510 travellers had been screened using thermal scanners and guns. 

Emergency team

He disclosed that on Tuesday, the  National Emergency Response team picked 21 alerts  from its surveillance systems, out of which only  nine  met  the Standard Case Definition for COVID-19.

He said the country’s surveillance system which has been enhanced since the activation of the Emergency Operations Centre at the MOH, can easily pick cases.

“We can authoritatively say that there is no single case of Coronavirus in the country,” Lang’at said. 

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe tours Mbagathi District Hospital today to ascertain its readiness to tackle the virus in case of any outbreak.

Langata said that all  passengers coming into the country are being screened for the virus, unlike the previous case where only those from China were being examined.

“We have also trained 800 health workers and this exercise is going on in Nairobi; Naivasha and tomorrow (Friday) in Machakos. We are planning to roll out this programme nationally,” Lang’at said.

 The World Health Organization on Thursday urged Kenya to enhance vigilance at ports of entry and conduct hygiene education targeting civilians in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading into the country.

Dr Nsenga Ngoy, team leader, emergency hub for East and Southern Africa at WHO health emergencies programme said that Kenya and other African countries were at risk of Coronavirus hence the need to strengthen diagnosis.

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