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Brace for tougher measures, CS Kagwe warns Kenyans

By Zadock Angira
Thursday, April 2nd, 2020
Traffic jam on Uhuru Highway in Nairobi, last evening as Kenyans rushed home to beat the 7pm curfew. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA
In summary
    • Lockdown was a possible option but said the government cannot any radical measure without ensuring that the vulnerable are cushioned.
    • Of the confirmed cases there were 18 Kenyans, two Pakistanis and another two Cameroon nationals. Kagwe added that seven of them were from Mombasa, two from Kiambu.

Kenyans should prepare themselves for stiffer measures even as Health CS Mutahi Kagwe yesterday revealed that 22 more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, bringing the total number of those infected to 81.

Kagwe said of the 22 patients - 13 males and 9 females - confirmed in the last 24 hours, 21 cases were individuals in isolation wards.

The latest tests are the largest single done in a day, with 380 tests conducted.

“Out of the confirmed cases, all except one were detected in quarantine facilities. The ages of the confirmed cases range from 23 to 71 years,” Kagwe said.

Spreading widely

He warned that the disease was now spreading widely in the country and “there is nothing that is not on the table” as far as government response to curb the spread is concerned.

 He fell short of admitting that a lockdown was a possible option but said the government cannot take any radical measure without ensuring that the vulnerable are cushioned.

 On the new confirmed cases, he said the samples were analysed at the four laboratories - National Influenza Centre, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Centre for Disease Control, and Aga Khan Hospital laboratories.

 “This was the single largest test conducted in a day and the results have shown the importance of quarantine,” the CS said.

Of the confirmed cases there were 18 Kenyans, two Pakistanis and another two Cameroon nationals.

Kagwe added that seven of them were from Mombasa, two from Kiambu and one each from Kakamega, Kilifi, Murang’a, Nyamira, and Nairobi counties.

Close contacts

The health ministry said the total number of close contacts that have so far been monitored is 1,675. Out of this number, 706 have been discharged from contact follow -up process after completing the 14 days follow-up period.

“Currently, our teams are monitoring 969 close contacts of confirmed cases,” Kagwe said.

The CS reiterated the earlier directive that the food trucks should be allowed to move freely in the country despite the curfew orders. 

He said the country was now able to manufacture approved face masks especially in Kitui. “We are also getting donations and we will have adequate supply of the masks,” he said.

Kagwe added that there were also adequate funds and that funds could be reallocated if situations demanded so. 

“When it comes to a crisis, there is no budget which cannot be reallocated,” he said.

The World Bank is also expected to approve a line of credit of USD50 million to help in dealing with the pandemic.

“The problem, world over, is not the shortage of money but the shortage of materials. The country will, any time from today, start manufacturing the personal protective equipment (PPEs) in Kenya.

“The materials required for doing so are available. The shortage has been due to the global demands,” he said.

The Director General of Public Heath Dr Patrick Amoth said all the patients were doing well except one who was admitted at the ICU at the Aga Khan Hospital who he said was on ventilator support.

Dr Amoth said the patients were not on specific, but supportive treatment.

‘Viral infection has no specific treatment. We have put them on supportive treatment including dealing with fever and coughs,” he said.

Dr Amoth said many trials were being undertaken on the effectiveness of Azithromycin and chloroquine in the treatment of Covid-19.

“The patient at Aga Khan is being treated with Azithromycin and chloroquine. We however need a bigger sample size to determine the drugs’ effectiveness,” he said.

Full recovery

Kagwe added that the full recovery of 26-year-old Ivy Brenda Cherono who was our first patient to test positive for the Coronavirus and Brian Orindi, patient number three who contracted the disease from her, was a testimony that Kenyans must now understand that contracting the disease is not a licence to death.