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Kenya coronavirus cases rise to seven

Tuesday March 24 2020
By ANGELA OKETCH

Continued admission of travellers from outside the country may be contributing to the rising numbers of patients with confirmed coronavirus infections.

On Wednesday, the country confirmed three more cases of the virus, bringing the total to seven.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said that all the cases are imported.

However, all the cases were screened when they entered the country. At the time of entry, their temperature was normal and were allowed in, only for them to exhibit the symptoms later.

And, as the national government grapples with the pandemic, suspected cases are rising.

In Kakamega and Kisumu counties, two people are under observation after exhibiting symptoms of the disease.

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In Nandi, at least four people, including a Catholic nun who arrived in the county recently, have been asked to self-quarantine.

Mr Kagwe said the three additional cases were tested at the National Influenza Laboratory Centre and Kenya Medical Research Institute Lab.

“We now have seven confirmed cases,” Mr Kagwe said.

The first two cases are of a couple that travelled from Madrid, Spain, on March 4 through Dubai, arriving in the country on March 5.

The third case, Mr Kagwe said, is a 27-year-old Burundian who travelled from Dubai to Kenya, arriving on March 17.

Close supervision

Upon arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the patient was picked up by the surveillance team with a high temperature of 39.8 degrees Celsius.

The CS said tracing of persons who may have come into contact with the patient is ongoing.

So far, 18 cases are admitted to Mbagathi Isolation Centre. Out of the number, seven have been screened and the results were negative. Samples from the remaining 11 suspected cases are being processed in the two designated laboratories.

“The seven who tested negative are being processed for discharge and to continue self-quarantine at home under close supervision of the Ministry of Health staff collaborating with the county surveillance team,” he said.

So far, 204,070 cases have been reported worldwide, with 8,247 deaths as at yesterday.

The Ministry of Health is also tracing 85 other people, who came into contact with the woman who was discharged from Mbagathi Hospital and later tested positive for the virus. The woman is said to have returned to the hospital 24 hours after discharge.

Dr Patrick Amoth, the Director-General at the Health ministry, confirmed the patient was at the Mbagathi isolation facility and left but was brought back. “We were able to track her. She has since tested positive,” he said.

Interestingly, this case has not been counted among the seven confirmed cases.

Mr Kagwe emphasised that it is mandatory and compulsory that any Kenyan coming in from other countries signs a legal form at the airport to confirm that they are going to self-quarantine.

“It is compulsory to self-quarantine and the government can forcefully do it if one has showed that they can’t do it.”

Mr Kagwe told Kenyans to keep watch and report people who are not practising self-quarantine since they are a threat to the fight against the virus.

“Let me remind such people that failure to self-quarantine is an offence punishable by a jail term,” he said.

Funerals or weddings

On social distancing, Mr Kagwe emphasised that any congregation anywhere, be it at funerals or weddings, will not be encouraged.

“Washing hands and social distancing is the reason the Chinese infection numbers are coming down,” Mr Kagwe said.

Asked whether there is a likelihood of a lockdown, Mr Kagwe said that it would depend on the findings of the National Emergency Committee on a model being carried out in the country.

Additional reporting by Benson Amadala, Elizabeth Ojina and Rushdie Oudia

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