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Kenya coronavirus cases rise to 16 as Kagwe appeals to matatus

Monday March 23 2020

NASIBO KABALE
By NASIBO KABALE
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Kenya has confirmed one more coronavirus case, bringing the total tally to 16 in the country, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has said on Monday.

The latest case is a close contact of one of the 8 newly reported cases, with Mr Kagwe saying 646 persons have been traced so far.

96 of these cases have been released after completing the mandatory 14-day follow up period, while 550 remain on the follow up list.

He also re-iterated that all passengers coming into the country between now and Wednesday, when all flights except cargo will be halted, must quarantine.

"They will be given a choice at the airport from tonight. Wherever they go, there will be in each facility Ministry of Health officials and security personnel...They are not prisoners, we just want to ensure security. We are training hotel staff to not expose themselves unnecessarily," he added.

He also urged Kenyans not to stigmatise the new arrivals just because they travelled into the country, pointing out that none of them had tested positive.

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"They are simply protecting themselves and Kenyans . It is a measure we have to take."

HOTELS

He thanked hotels for hosting passengers who will be quarantined, but added that they should not hike their fees.

"I want to thank those hotels but ask not to hike normal charges or no more than 25 pc of that. To expect a person who had no plans to stay at a hotel to pay normal prices is immoral," he said.

He said that the State was training hotel staff to not expose themselves unnecessarily.

Mr Kagwe also apologised to individuals inconvenienced since last night after a forced quarantine directive, noting that there were some challenges in implementing the order.

"We had logistical challenges as a result of the speed we wanted to move...We can only apologise and mitigate by saying it was necessary."

APPEAL TO MATATUS

The CS made an appeal to the matatu industry, urging a more understanding approach to the crisis amid reports of hiked fares.

"We appeal to the matatu sector to understand the situation and that some are not earning anything at the moment...understand that the commuters are not in the same financial situation," he said, adding that it was immoral for businesspeople to maintain a scenario where they are looking to earn as much as they can.