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Covid-19: 52 more test positive

Friday May 22 2020

LILLIAN MUTAVI
By LILLIAN MUTAVI
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Kenya on Friday recorded 52 new Covid-19 cases bringing the national tally to 1,161.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said 2,567 samples were tested in the last 24 hours.

The Health minister, in his daily briefing, said Nairobi accounted for 23 of the new cases, Mombasa and Busia seven each.

New cases were also recorded in Kwale (5), Kajiado (4), Nakuru (2), Kiambu, Taita Taveta, Kilifi and Trans Nzoia counties recorded one each.

Eight of the cases in Nairobi were recorded in Kibera which has become a virus hotspot in the capital.

"Kibera is worrying as it now has eight cases and we will make a decision based on scientific research," Mr Kagwe said.

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He lauded Mombasa making significant progress in containing the disease.

Kenya, which confirmed its first case of the virus on March 13, had tested a total of 55, 074 samples from different parts of the county by May 22.

The minister also announced that the number of recoveries had risen to 380 with the discharge of five more patients.

The ministry further said that the number of fatalities had remained the same, 50.

At the same briefing in Machakos, Mr Kagwe announced that Kenya will no longer import Personal protective equipment (PPE) because local manufacturers are now able to produce quality gears for health workers.

Mr Kagwe revealed that some of the imported PPE were sub-standard. He said they were tested by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and failed the tests.
“Some of the equipment were clearly below standard. The ones we are making locally are superior to those that we were importing before. Thanks to God our doctors have not been falling sick,” Mr Kagwe said.

WORKERS EXPOSED

He said the PPE are very critical in the management of the virus and there is need to be careful, lest that which is supposed to save a life can itself kill.

“Healthcare workers will not be exposed. We will not accept any materials that the doctors themselves are not comfortable with. They are the ones on the frontline. We will not just allow substandard things in this country in the name of helping us,” he said.

This revelation has left many wondering if it is the reason 34 healthcare workers tested positive for the virus. However, what is not clear is whether the PPE were donations or the government purchased them.

Healthcare workers had raised concerns over the quality of the equipment donated to the counties by the national government.

Mr Maurice Opetu, the deputy secretary-general of the Kenya National Union of Nurses, said the equipment delivered to the health workers were of poor quality, hence putting them at high risk of contracting the virus.

“We are in this together, but in order to protect the lives of Kenyans and health workers, we must ensure the equipment is validated and certified,” he said.

PROVIDE FUNDS

Mr Kagwe called upon the management of the Covid-19 Fund, launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta, to release the money and start putting it in manufacturing of the equipment.

“I know they have been going through the processes of tenders and now this being an emergency, we are calling upon them to release some money for the purchase of the PPE,” the CS said.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua announced that all polytechnics in the county are opened and producing face masks that will be given to 1.5 million locals for free.
The governor also announced that the county has eased Covid-19 rules and that boda boda riders and beer distributors will be allowed to resume work from Tuesday.
He said 200 motorcycles that were confiscated from some riders will be returned back.