By HENRY OWINO (Senior Science Correspondent)
The Kenya’s capital city Nairobi hosts majority of Coronavirus confirmed cases the country has so far established. Out of a total number of close contacts which stood at 1,474 on March 30, 2020, Nairobi leads the list.
By Monday, March 30, Kenya had 50 confirmed cases of Coronavirus. Out of these, 37 are residents of Nairobi County, while Kilifi (6), Mombasa (4), Kajiado (1), Kwale (1) and Kitui (1).
Addressing the public through media briefing at Afya House, Mutahi Kagwe, Cabinet Secretary for Health said this now brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Kenya to 50.
According to CS Kagwe, 88 samples were tested from close contacts of the previous 42 confirmed cases and out of this number six were confirmed positive. The CS further stated that tracing of contacts of the 50 patients is ongoing and the total number of close contacts now stands at 1474 by same date and day.
“Out of this, 231 have been discharged after completing mandatory 14-day quarantine and follow up,” CS Kagwe said, adding that teams are now monitoring 1211 close contacts.
“This means the Coronavirus is now being spread through community transmission and it calls for more personal responsibility,” CS Kagwe added. So far 1005 people have been tested for coronavirus.
According to CS Kagwe, community transmission means the disease is no longer transported from outside and Kenyans must raise their level of awareness and adherence to social distancing guidelines as well as hygiene.
This, the Heath CS says, means the disease is no longer being imported from outside but is here with us. Of the confirmed cases, one was from a sample drawn from the Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi.
“There are other 14 cases who are in quarantine who are undergoing more tests. I will reveal the outcome tomorrow (March 31, 2020),” he said.
He said mass testing had embarked on 2,050 people under mandatory quarantined, with 172 samples from this group tested in last 24 hours.
The CS for Health cautioned Nairobi residents not to travel upcountry as they risk transmitting the disease to rural residents, many of who are elderly.
“Those who have travelled should maintain social distance as much as possible” CS Kagwe cautioned.
He revealed that almost all estates in Nairobi, there are persons already infected hence the need for residents to maintain social distance and stay at home.
The government has also painted a grim picture of what to expect in the next month if the spread of the virus is not tamed.
Dr Patrick Amoth, Ministry of Health Director General said their preliminary modeling data showed that Coronavirus cases by mid- April might hit 5000, and rise to 10,000 by end of April in absence of drastic intervention.
However, in view of the recent directives on social distancing, travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine as well as other public health measures, there may be a delay in reaching the first 1,000 cases,” Dr Amoth hinted at the media briefing.
CS Kagwe also warned boda-boda (motorbike) riders which are a popular form of transport in Kenya’s rural and urban areas on overloading passengers.
He noted that new measures will be imposed on the sector, while urging them to only carry one passenger and wear face-masks.
“Government will soon distribute masks across the country. We are doing this to protect boda-boda,” he said. In fact, it is a measure for them to remain in business, the CS added.