Covid-19: Uganda border lapse raises eyebrows

The Kenya-Uganda border crossing in Busia. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The long distance drivers aged 29 and 82 came into the country from South Sudan and Uganda.

It has emerged that a serious security lapse at the Busia border control saw two people infected with Covid-19 slip into the country only to be nabbed in Kisumu County hours later after their test results showed they were carrying the virus.

Details of the two cases, both long distance drivers aged 29 and 82 who came into the country from South Sudan and Uganda through the Busia border, have emerged.

There's indication that they received the greenlight to enter Kenya before receiving results for their Covid-19 tests that were conducted at the border.

It was only hours later after they had already been cleared and left that their results came back positive and surveillance teams set in motion to track them down.

They were intercepted in Kisumu where they are currently in isolation at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital.

The Nation has learnt that upon realising their folly, the security surveillance system was immediately activated and the Kisumu team put on alert.

They managed to intercept the two immediately upon their arrival in the county at daybreak on Saturday.

“There appears to have been a lapse at the border which resulted in confusion that saw the two flagged off before results came back from the testing centre,” a source said.

The third case is of a 33-year-old woman who travelled from Nairobi to Nyando, Kisumu County for a funeral on Saturday and back to Nairobi.

She was part of a group of 20 mourners who were screened and tested for Covid-19 by the Nairobi Metropolitan surveillance team and is currently in isolation in Nairobi.

CONTACT TRACING

According to Governor Anyang Nyong’o, contact tracing for all three cases is ongoing.

He, however, clarified that no resident of Kisumu County has tested positive for the virus so far, adding that all the three cases were imported.

“We continue to urge the general public to adhere to all government directives and public health Covid-19 containment measures. The general public should continue to be vigilante and report any cases of travel or Covid-19 like symptoms to public health officials,” the governor said, even as questions arose over expenditure of Sh91.8 million as of last week for the fight against the pandemic despite not confirming any cases.

A breakdown given by the governor showed that Sh72.3 million was spent on acquisition of PPEs besides other commitments and Sh19.4 million on surveillance.

In his county status update on the situation last week, Dr Nyong’o said the county response teams were planning to carry out a stratified random sampling to ascertain Kisumu's Covid-19 ‘zero status’.

“When we do this, we are likely to get more accurate results than mass testing,” the Governor said on Friday.

Noting that 664,856 people have been screened at the border points and other public places in the first 68 days since the disease's entry into the country, the county boss stated that the need to upscale the county’s testing capacity arose from the realisation that Kenya continues to record more positive cases from community infections, which have been exposed through enhanced testing.

“This we intend to do in a targeted manner based on the population demographic outlay,” he said.

As of last week, 307 people had been screened for Covid-19 in the county and all tested negative.

They include 41 samples from isolation wards, 102 from quarantine centres, 36 patients with respiratory illnesses at the county referral hospital, 11 inmates at Kodiaga prison, 27 truck drivers, 82 hoteliers and eight at own request.

The county government set up a 17-bed Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) facility at the county referral hospital, with a capacity to upscale to 29 beds.

5-bed holding isolations have also been set up in all the county's hospitals in Ahero, Muhoroni, Nyakach, Gita, Chulaimbo and Kombewa while 1,148-bed quarantine centres at three Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) campuses have also been set up.

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