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Experts want pandemic rules reviewed ahead of Christmas festivities

By Henry Andanje
Thursday, December 24th, 2020
Dr Githinji Gitahi.
In summary

Medical experts have appealed to the government to consider reviewing Covid-19 protocols to control community spread during the festive season.

Dr Githinji Gitahi, an expert in infectious diseases and Group CEO of Amref Health Africa and Dr Moses Masika, a virologist and  lecturer at the University of Nairobi, have also urged the public to take extreme caution  ahead of the holiday season.

The Amref boss also cautioned against mass travels by Kenyans in the urban areas to villages, saying it could be counter productive in the fight against Covid-19. “Do not travel unless you really need to,” Dr Gitahi warned.

 Dr Gitahi says even if one decides to get tested before traveling, he or she may not get much out of it.

“Unfortunately testing does not predict the onset of the disease. So, even if you had a negative test today, tomorrow you could be tested and be positive,” he says.

Of major concern is the probability of large gatherings on Christmas Day and on New Year by those who have traveled upcountry to celebrate with relatives. 

Viruses, Gitahi says, are known to spread widely during festive seasons through large gatherings.

At the same time, the medics implored the government to heighten testing of visitors into the country in a bid to detect the new variant of coronavirus.

New variant

They, however, allayed fears over the spread of the new variant in the country, saying there is no need for suspension of flights to and from the United Kingdom.

“The probabilities of the new variant of coronavirus having found its way into the country are very high given the fact that Kenyans continues to interact with people from some of the countries where it has been detected,” Dr Gitahi said.

But even as they downplayed the possibilities of the new variant, the experts opine the government ought to tighten some Covid-19 measures.

Experts have warned of a possible catastrophic impacts of a potential Corona surge that could hit the country if Kenyans do not keep their festive gatherings and traveling to a minimum.

They say holidays have proven to be a catalyst of Covid-19 infections across the globe.

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