Alarm as Virus spreads to 36 counties in Kenya

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NAIROBI, Kenya June 7 – COVID-19 cases are spreading fast in Kenya, nearly three months after the first case was confirmed.

Kenya confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on March 12, on a student who had traveled in from the US through UK and cases had soared to 2,767 after 167 new cases were reported Sunday.

The country’s Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the new cases were confirmed from 2,833 samples.

On Sunday, Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti, who is chairman of the Health Committee at the Council of Governors, said 36 counties had reported positive cases by Sunday out of 47.

“This virus is spreading very fast in counties now,” he said, “that is why we want the Counties Emergency Response Committee to urgently convene a meeting.”

Of the new cases, reported Sunday, Nairobi was leading with 54 cases, Mombasa 47, Busia 28, Kiambu 14 and Uasin Gishu 11.

“We are going to have direct intervention in Busia from the national government because of the rising numbers,” CS Kagwe said.

All the 28 cases at the Busia border were on truck drivers.

46 patients were also discharged, raising the number of recoveries to 752.

Cases of fatalities also increased to 84, after a patient succumbed.

Governor Kuti who chairs the Health Committee in the council of Governors challenged his colleagues to rise to the occasion and upgrade their respective health facilities.

“The larger the population in a county, the larger should be the bed capacity, and therefore I think it is important for counties to step up their efforts now that the disease is still spreading,” he said.

Health Cabinet Secretary Kagwe, who chairs the National Emergency Response Committee, tasked the county committees to urgently convene and prioritise the availability of isolation beds after reports showed that some counties like Siaya only have 10 isolation beds which are already occupied.

“Money has already been dispatched to the county governments, originally they were struggling and we will continue to support but I think the idea of them being ready is crucial in the next phase of the management of this disease,” he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who issued new guidelines for COVID-19 on Saturday, said he will convene a meeting with Governors on Wednesday, to discuss their level of preparedness in tackling the virus.

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses Kenyans from State House, Nairobi. /PSCU.

The restrictions in Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera however, remain in force for 30 more days, with Eastleigh and Mombasa’s Old Town now open after a 30-day lockdown.

Business was back to normal Sunday after President Kenyatta lifted a curfew. /MOSES MUOKI.

President Kenyatta extended the night curfew to start at 9pm to 4am from Sunday and opened Eastleigh, Old Town area of Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale.