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We’ll not relent on border surveillance on Covid-19, says Aman

By Irene Githinji
Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
Health CAS Rashid Aman
In summary

Irene Githinji @gitshee

The government said yesterday it will continue to tighten its surveillance at border points to mitigate the spread of coronavirus even as it warned that the transmission of the disease from Tanzania was still high.

Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of Health Rashid Aman said the number of persons, particularly truck drivers, who recently tested positive for coronavirus calls for the scaling up of testing strategies.

He affirmed that it is the government’s duty to not only keep testing at border points but also keep out persons who turn positive for coronavirus.

Some 25 people out of 1,139 samples tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours to yesterday’s briefing, bringing the total number of cases to 912, only 88 away from the 1,000 mark.

“The fact that we are testing at border levels, the numbers and the results we are receiving indicate that there is some level of threat from Tanzania side in terms of the number of people testing positive,” said Dr Aman, during the daily update on the status of coronavirus in the country.

“Being able to control importation of the disease into the country, which is largely going to come through land movement, is key for us and that is why we have to tighten surveillance at border points to be able to keep away any infected persons,” he added.

Expand testing

Dr. Aman said every country chooses how to respond to the disease and Kenya’s choice is to try and break the cycle of transmission by being able to put in place measures that will allow for containment of the virus

“We are crossing to test truckers coming into Kenya and if they are positive they are not allowed to enter if negative allowed continue with their journey. We will not tire testing people, it will even be expanded in coming days,” said the CAS.

He, however, said surveillance and testing strategies will continue to be done within the spirit of East African Community and countries must be able to talk on some common strategy on how to deal with the cross-border problem.

“Behind all pronouncements there are high level discussions happening behind the scenes of East African Community countries towards working together to be able to contain the virus,” assured Dr Aman.

Out of the 25 people who tested positive, 23 were Kenyans and two Somali nationals and just like a majority of countries globally, more men than women are infected.

There were also 53 truck drivers who tested positive at various points of entry on the Kenya-Tanzania border, 51 of them being Tanzanians and two Burundians and were turned back.

For the 25 new cases, Kajiado had six all of whom were truck drivers at Namanga, Mombasa had five cases; four from Likoni and one from Nyali.

In Nairobi, there were three cases at Githurai 44, while Kawangware and Starehe had one case each.

Three other cases were reported in Kiambu, with two cases picked at Kiambu Town and one from Githurai 45.

In Kwale all three cases were truck drivers at Lunga Lunga border and so was the case in Taita Taveta, which had two people testing positive at Voi.

In Garissa, there were two cases from Daadab refugee camp and another one from Meru.

Some 22 patients were discharged, bringing the total of recoveries to 336 while fatalities stood at 50.

As the government fights coronavirus, the CAS said Kenyans should not be afraid of seeking medical help over other ailments.

Also speaking during the briefing, Government Spokesperson Cololen (Rtd)  Cyrus Oguna said police officers should not arrest Kenyans not wearing masks in private cars.

However, he said that those in private cars should be encouraged to have masks before leaving their houses towards adopting the culture of wearing them in public places.

He said police are ‘enforcing the rule’ to help Kenyans get used to the new norm.

“… private cars are not necessarily public places ... Police try to encourage people in private cars to wear a mask, they are not supposed to arrest them,” Oguna said.

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