Sixteen more people in Kenya have tested positive for the coronavirus, raising the total number of infections to 262, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said on Saturday.
CS Kagwe gave this report to the Senate Ad Hoc Committee during a Zoom meeting and later during the daily briefing for the day.
He said that of the 16 new cases, 15 were Kenyans and one a foreign national and that they all had no history of travel and were not from quarantine facilities.
The CS said the new cases were confirmed after the testing of 1,115 samples in the last 24 hours as the capacity had been doubled.
He further announced that seven more people had recovered, raising the country’s total to 60.
Mr Kagwe also reported one more death, raising the total to 12, from the 11 that President Uhuru Kenyatta announced on Thursday.
CS Kagwe said 12 of the new patients were male and four female, and that they were between 23 and 84 years old.
Of the 262 cases, he said, eight were 14 years old or less, 70 in the age 15-29 group, 164 in the age 30-59 group and 20 above the age of 60.
Two hundred and thirty six were Kenyans and the rest foreign nationals.
By April 18, he said, a total of 11,909 had been tested, 2,609 contacts monitored and 2,036 discharged, leaving 573 under follow-up.
While cautioning the public against defying the government’s guidelines for preventing further local transmission of Covid-19, CS Kagwe said Homa Bay County had reported its first case.
He explained that the case was found after a group of people travelled from Nairobi County, with an empty coffin, in the guise of being on their way to a funeral.
The CS said that authorities in Homa Bay checked the coffin after suspecting the group was lying and confirmed that it was using trickery to travel.
He also cited the case of Mandera County, saying Governor Ali Roba had confirmed that some individuals had bribed their way out of quarantine facilities.
Earlier, the ministry extended the confinement of individuals in five quarantine centres by another 14 days, noting some of them tested positive for the coronavirus while others breached laid down procedures.
This was in addition to the 14 more days that the Kenyans and foreigners had already stayed at the facilities, so the announcement resulted in complaints by some of the individuals in the facilities.
Mr Kagwe warned that anyone found disregarding movement specifications, in line with the orders President Kenyatta issued, would face the full force of the law.
He noted that some models show that the virus could kill at least 28,000 people in Kenya.
As such, the minister said, “We advise all health workers and even those who work as sweepers in [hospitals and other facilities] to take extra caution and protect themselves at all times,” he said, adding that nobody should ever receive a patient without personal protective equipment.
Mr Kagwe further noted the need for a healthy diet and exercise to increase immunity, strengthen the body and speed up recovery.
However, he advised against the spread of fake news and trust in unconfirmed reports on nutrition and remedies, saying only authorities such as the government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) should be trusted.
The CS said that nine of the 16 new cases of the virus were reported in Nairobi and five in Mombasa.
Out of the 262 cases, Nairobi accounted for 193, Mombasa 43, Kilifi eight, Mandera six, Kajiado, Kitui, Nakuru and Siaya two each and Uasin Gishu, Kwale, Kakamega and Hoima Bay one each.
The CS said that no estate in the capital, which he termed a high risk area, lacked a potential case – reason enough for the public to ensure high standards of hygiene, ensure social distancing and go to hospital should the symptoms of the disease be registered.
Mr Kagwe said that Kilimani had six cases, Pipeline five, Karen, Utawala and South C four each, Kawangware three, Tassia, Kitisuru, Parklands, Buruburu and Kibra two each.
He said Donholm, Eastleigh, Lavington, Hurlingham, Runda, Ngara, Madaraka and Kasarani were among the areas with at least one case each.
The coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China, on December 31, 2019.
Since then, it has quickly spread across the world and infected at least 2,263,064 people, according to Worldometer’s tally on April 18.
The total number of deaths was 154,828 and that of recoveries 581,183 as of April 18, while the number of active cases stood at 1,527,054 with 96 per cent of the conditions being mild and the rest – 56,977 – critical.
Worldometer’s count showed that the number of closed cases was 736,010, 79 per cent or 581,182 of which was the number of recoveries.
In Africa, the number of infections was 20,652 and the deaths 1,029.
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