Kenya has hit another record high in terms of the number of coronavirus cases recorded daily, reporting 47 more positive test results on Wednesday.
The Health ministry said it had tested 1,574 samples in 24 hours and that 32 of the new cases were recorded in Mombasa, 11 in Nairobi, two in Busia and one each in Kiambu and Kwale.
While announcing a total of 582 confirmed cases since Kenya's first case on March 13, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said two more people had died, raising the death toll to 26.
He said the two people aged 68 and 76 died at their homes in Mombasa, raising more concerns about cases that go unnoticed as people stay at home.
"One patient in Kenyatta National Hospital came to Kenya from Tanzania, through Loitoktok, using matatus. This shows us the danger we are in and further tells why the measures in the transport system have been put in place," he added.
The CS also reported that eight more people had been discharged, raising the country's total number of recoveries to 190.
Twenty five of Mombasa's cases were in Mvita, three in Likoni, two in Kisauni and another two in Changamwe.
In Nairobi, five were Eastleigh, two in Kasarani and one each in Kibra, Umoja, Dandora and Karen.
With Eastleigh in Nairobi and Old Town in Mombasa emerging as hotspots, the government announced tougher measures to contain the spread of the virus.
CS Kagwe announced the cessation of movement into and out of the two areas for 15 days starting 7pm Wednesday and said the markets, restaurants and eateries there would also be shut.
He noted that public transporters would not operate in these areas and but that activities within their borders would not be restricted amid mass testing to establish the extent of infection and identity contacts.
The minister noted that "these measures are not intended to punish but protect the people in those areas".
The ministry further announced that the government would pay the costs of targeted testing and quarantine at its facilities, effective May 6.
"This is as a result of concerns from Kenyans in regard to costs," CS Kagwe said. "Kenyans should therefore not be afraid to be tested."
The State also said patients returning home from other parts of the world would not be quarantined at its facilities.
"Instead, they will be signed for and released to their doctors so they can be quarantined in premises that their doctors determine are sufficient to deal with their particular challenges," the CS said.
Regarding transport restrictions, the government said cargo drivers must be tested 48 hours before travel and be issued with a Covid-19 free certificate which is valid for 14 days.
"Before being let into the Mombasa port, Nairobi and Naivasha, as well as at the border points, they will be required to submit the certificate," Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said.
The CS further said that since the commuter rail service had been identified as being at high risk for the virus, 40 coaches had been introduced in addition to the 60 that were in service.
"The commuter rail carries between 40,000 and 50,000 people a day," he said, noting the move would ensure physical distancing as part of measures to limit the spread of the virus.
"There is also a sanitiser tunnel which commuters must pass through before getting into the train, to ensure they don’t carry the virus into it."
The minister further announced that a brand new ferry was bought and would be commissioned in Likoni on Thursday in efforts to promote social distancing and improve services.