Kagwe hints at festivity under strict rules if infections spiral

Friday, November 20th, 2020 00:00 | By
Health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe. Photo/Gerald Ithana

Hillary Mageka and Noah Cheploen

Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe has yet again given the clearest indication, that containment measures could be heightened ahead of the Christmas festivities should Covid-19 infections escalate.

Speaking during an interview with Citizen TV on Wednesday, Kagwe warned that the government will have no option but impose more stringent measures.

“If today people decided that in 14 days they will bring down this disease, it will come down. But we will not shy away from taking tough decisions,” the CS said.

“If cases are going up and we think by allowing people to travel it will cause a problem, then just like we have done before, we can do it again to arrest the rising numbers,” he added.

In April this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the cessation of movement in and out of a number of counties in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Crucial lessons

The order was later lifted in July but with a warning that should the situation deteriorate, the country would revert to the lockdown’

A fortnight ago, Council of Governors blamed laxity in the enforcement of protocols for the resurgence of infections.

“The problem with this disease is that once you have it you are not just a threat to yourself, you are a threat to your children and family.

There is a time for everything; this is a time for us to withdraw from socialising,” the CS pleaded.

The CS said that even though it  is almost impossible to have a complete lockdown in Kenya due to the circumstances and social structures in place, the government will not hesitate to escalate its measures.

He argued that putting in place containment measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19, is the best way to go about it as experts monitor developments.

“We de-escalate and escalate issues depending on what we weigh. When you have community spread, you look at two things; the fatality rate and bed capacity in hospitals,” he said.

“Then you ask yourself…if we cease economic activities, what will happen in two months’ time?” the CS asked, saying the most import measure as a community is to observe containment rules.

Meanwhile, Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman has said that coronavirus has taught the country crucial lessons, that will come in handy in battling pandemics of similar nature and other community based diseases in future.

Speaking during the ministry’s daily briefing on Covid-19 situation yesterday, Aman said that the country must continue building its health capacities.

“We should all be concerned and the more a reason it should motivate us to strengthen our systems even further,” he said.

Responding to reports of a new type of Swine Flu in China that is capable of triggering another pandemic, Aman said that although the information needed to be verified by authorities, it remained a matter of great concern globally.

“We will see other pandemics in the future, we must build our health systems to be resilient and be able to cope with any pandemic that might come up,” he said.

“I think Covid-19 is teaching the entire world that it is all about having robust health systems that can cope with any eventuality,” he added.

County governments are currently working round the clock to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive of 300-bed isolation in each of the 47 devolved units, to enable the country combat the virus properly in case of a surge in infections.

The Covid-19 originated from Wuhan Province in China in December before spreading like bush-fire across the globe—leaving death and devastation in its wake. 

By yesterday afternoon, the number of infections—globally—was around 10.5 million. 

Locally, the number of coronavirus cases in the country has increased to 6,366 after 176 people—majority of them being in Nairobi—turned positive from some 2, 419 samples tested in the last 24 hours.

Some 26 more patients have also been discharged bringing the total number of recoveries—so far—to 2, 039 but on a sore note sour note, four patients died within the period pushing the number of fatalities to 148.

According to the figures, Nairobi leads with 99 infections followed by Mombasa (20), Kiambu (17), Migori (13), Uasin Gishu (10), Kajiado (4), Busia (4) and Kilifi (3) and Makueni 2. Machakos, Narok, Kisumu and Kakamega reported one case each.

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