East African

Covid-19: Kenya cases rise to 303 as seven more test positive


NASIBO KABALE

By NASIBO KABALE
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The total number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Kenya rose to 303 on Wednesday, with the announcement of seven more positive test results. 

In its daily update on the Covid-19 pandemic, the Health ministry said all the new patients were Kenyans and that they were among 707 people tested in the last 24 hours. 

Six of the new cases were recorded in Mombasa and one in Nairobi. 

Six of the patients were found through targeted mass testing while one was identified through surveillance.

Regarding the capacity to test, Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said Kenya had 25,000 kits as of Wednesday and that the plan was to increase the number to 250,000 by June. 

He reiterated that mass testing would target health workers in the frontlines and said hospital and community surveillance would also take place. 

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CS Kagwe also announced that the government had added Mandera in eastern Kenya to the list of counties under a cessation of movement order. 

Mandera had eight coronavirus patients as of April 22. 

Following increased cases of local transmission there, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i announced a ban on movement into and out of the county.

The order takes effect at 7pm on Wednesday and will remain for 21 days.

The other counties affected by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cessation of movement order are Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale. 

CS Kagwe warned against behaviour that contravenes the government’s guidelines on containing the spread of the virus, citing countries such as Tanzania and Somalia where the numbers of patients have soared over the last few days.

“This past week we have seen significant changes in Somalia, where the number of cases rose to 237 yesterday,” he said.

“In Tanzania, the numbers have swollen seven-fold. This development concerns us … the virus may move at a slow pace but can also take off at a high speed as seen in Spain. Between March 18 and 25, the cases in Spain grew five-fold from 11,741 to 50,019.” 

The minister noted the need for those who escaped from quarantine facilities in parts of the country including Mandera and Nairobi to return.

He also urged members of the public to report such people to police. 

“The idea that we can break curfew and not face ramifications is dangerous. The fight belongs to all Kenyans,” he said.

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 2,574,994 people, according to Worldometer’s tally on April 22. 

The total number of deaths was 178,658 and that of recoveries 704,050 as of April 22, while the number of active cases stood at 1,692,286, with three per cent or 57,216 of them being critical and the rest mild.

Worldometer’s count showed that the number of closed cases was 882,708, with 80 per cent or 704,050 being the number of recoveries or those discharged.

In Africa, the number of infections was 25,777 and the deaths 1,202. 

Fourteen people have died in Kenya since the virus was first reported on March 13. 

Dr Patrick Among, the acting Director-General in the ministry, told journalists that only one foreign national had died in Kenya and was buried at a local cemetery. 



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