The number of coronavirus cases in Kenya increased to 126 after four people tested positive on Saturday.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the new patients include three Kenyans and a Pakistani national. The CS also appealed to the youth to help fight the virus.
Previously, Mr Kagwe chastised young people for downplaying the directive on social distancing. He told them to be at the forefront in fighting Covid-19.
Mr Kagwe said the ministry has monitored 1,781 contacts and discharged 1,109 from the follow-up after the expiry of 14 days of isolation.
The appeal comes when studies have shown that the outbreak has entered a new, more potent phase dictated by local or community transmissions and not the ones imported.
Director General for Health Patrick Amoth said the local infections account for about a quarter of total.
Mr Kagwe said 2,050 people are in mandatory quarantine and that 1,866 in this group have been tested.
“Some 184 individuals are yet to be tested,” he said.
Experts say the biggest challenge for the ministry will be contact tracing.
This involves identifying, then alerting people who have been within the infection range of a person confirmed to have the virus.
Mr Fredros Okumu, a public health expert, said the use of public service in Kenya makes it very difficult to know the number of people exposed.
Mr Kagwe said young people would be rendered jobless should the economy collapse and that they would bury their parents in large numbers.
Using phrases like “my sons” and “my daughters”, Mr Kagwe asked young people to utilise the organisations they have formed such as football clubs, savings and credit cooperative societies, (saccos), businesses and other commercial enterprise groups to augment the government’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic.
“The youth can organise themselves into groups and assist our security agencies in ensuring Kenyans maintain social distance, among other measures we have announced in the fight against this disease,” the minister said.
He repeated that young people should not go to their rural homes because “you might kill your parents or grandparents who are elderly”.
“Statistics shows that the young people are the ones contracting the disease and then passing it on to the elderly,” he said.
Mr Kagwe also urged the youth and the public in general to wear masks when visiting supermarkets or any open air market in order to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
The federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also warn that as many as 25 per cent of people infected with the new coronavirus may not show symptoms.
This has led the CDC to broaden its guidelines on who should wear the masks.
The minister dismissed the vigilante groups who have turned to beating and killing in the name of enforcing social distancing and the curfew, saying that is lawlessness.