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Kenya's Covid-19 cases rise to 81 as 22 more test positive

Wednesday April 1 2020

NASIBO KABALE
By NASIBO KABALE
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Kenya has recorded the highest jump in coronavirus cases so far, with 22 people testing positive Wednesday.

This brings the national total to 81. The government said all patients are doing well, except for one at the intensive care unit of the Aga Khan University Hospital.

Dr Patrick Amoth, the director general at the Ministry of Health, said the patient is responding well to treatment.

“We are in contact with the hospital and we are monitoring his condition. The rest are doing well and we could be declaring a new recovery in the next few days,” he said.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said 13 of the new cases are male and nine are female.

Mr Kagwe said the patients comprise 18 Kenyans, two Pakistani and two Cameroonian citizens.

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He added that 21 of the new cases are already in quarantine after they were found to have come into contact with confirmed cases.

Four new counties recorded their first coronavirus cases. These are Kiambu, Murang'a, Machakos and Nyamira.

At the same time, Dr Amoth confirmed the case of a clinical officer in Nairobi who becomes Kenya's first health worker to contract the virus in the line of duty.

He said the medic was taken ill last week at Ngara Health Centre in Nairobi, where she works.

Clinical officers and other medics said the case demonstrates the increased need for the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for individuals on the frontline in combating the virus.

Kenya Medical Association chief executive officer Liz Gitau said health workers require PPEs including surgical masks, respirators (N95 masks), eye protection (goggles), latex gloves, boots, long-sleeve gowns and hazmat suits.

“Health workers around the world have improvised PPEs as shortages hit, with nurses in New York using garbage bags as gowns and Italy doctors improvising snorkelling masks to be used as reusable respirator masks,” Dr Gitau said.

She said the government should consider the reduction of import duties of essential medical supplies.

“The management of PPE should be co-ordinated through an essential national and international supply chain management mechanism to reduce the bottlenecks in access,” Dr Gitau said.

During the briefing, Mr Kagwe said the World Bank has approved US$50 million to support Kenya's war against coronavirus.

Kenya reported its first coronavirus case on March 13. Since then, one patient has died and two other have fully recovered from Covid-19.

The two Covid-19 survivors, identified as Brenda and Brian, made the first public appearance Wednesday in a live video call with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

During the live chat, President Kenyatta urged Kenyans to help stop the deadly virus.