Kenya scales up testing to combat COVID-19

by Muizat Hameed

The Kenyan government has scaled up testing for the Covid-19 virus after Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mutahi Kagwe confirmed 51 new positive cases.

While disclosing this on Wednesday May 20, 2020, Kagwe stated that the move became necessary after about 51 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, from a sample of 1,933 bringing the total number to 963.

“We have also discharged 22 patients bringing the number of total recoveries to 358, while the death toll still remains at 50,” the CS said when he gave the country’s status report during the daily media briefing at Afya House.

“Out of the confirmed cases 19 are female while 32 are male, both aged between 2 years and 63 years.

“We are committed to fighting this pandemic before it overruns our system,” he added.

Among the strategies the Ministry is implementing is the enhancement of screening along border points and activation of laboratories especially at border points such as Busia, Wajir, Namanga and also in Naivasha.

Besides activating the Multi-agency teams and the Nyumba Kumi Initiative, the government has also restricted movement across Kenya- Tanzania & Kenya – Somalia border, including travel restrictions in Nairobi, Mombasa, Mandera among others.

“The goal of travel restrictions was to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the CS noted.

“We have also identified hotspots for targeted testing such as Kamukunji, Dagoreti North, Embakasi East in Nairobi county and Mvita In Mombasa, he disclosed.

“Testing capacity has been scaled up from the initial 2 labs in Nairobi to 20 labs in 10 counties and to date we have tested 46, 784 samples,” he noted.

According to the CS, 76% of the COVID-19 fatalities occurred in men compared to 24% in women and the most affected age-group is 60 and above. He also noted that most deaths occurred in Mombasa county followed by Nairobi County.

He also elaborated that COVID-19 is not an MOH issue but a coordination of the whole government approach..

“Our focus is on now targeted testing, increasing lab capacity, travel restrictions, Psychosocial support and establishment of functional quarantine & isolation facilities, he added.

The CS for EAC & Regional Development Adan Mohamed added that “Numbers don’t lie and urged his muslim brothers to maintain social distancing as they approach the muslim festival season.”

He concluded that each truck driver must be subjected to coronavirus test and emphasized that Cargo trade will continue as his ministry continues to engage with Tanzania on the same.

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