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A glimmer of hope even as coronavirus infections rise to 25

Friday March 27 2020
By NASIBO KABALE

As the number of new coronavirus cases rose to 25 in Kenya, the Ministry of Health has expressed optimism that the patients will recover.

A doctor at Kenyatta National Hospital’s (KNH) Infectious Diseases Unit said it is likely that the initial cases who tested positive and were admitted will be released this week.

The doctor, who spoke to the Nation on the condition of anonymity, said the viral load of the initial cases, especially the first two patients, has gone down and upon testing yet again they would be due for release.

NO VACCINE
“There is no vaccine or medicine for coronavirus; treatment consists of supportive care to help relieve symptoms and, for severe cases, care to support vital organ functions.

“It can take 10 days for the viral load to be negligible but to be sure, we have to wait for no less than 15 days before we can test again and release the patients who turn negative,” said the medic.

Confirming the quick recovery of the patients, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said most of the patients were doing well except two elderly men.

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The confirmed cases are aged between 20 and 67 years old and are isolated at various hospitals.

“We think we might have some good news, but we do not want to announce something and then go back.

“Keep your fingers crossed because soon we could be happy to announce the news we are receiving and I want to say somebody’s prayers are being answered,” he said.

Dr Majid Twahir, the associate dean for clinical affairs and chief of staff at Aga Khan University Hospital, explained that to determine if someone has recovered from the coronavirus, at least two different samples taken at least 24 hours apart must test negative.

TESTS
He said the tests are done after the symptoms have completely cleared, adding that the tests look out for the virus and not antibodies.

“There is no cure for coronavirus and so your body produces immunity by itself and clears it from the system.

“This is a fight between an individual and the virus; if your body wins, you are cleared, if not you succumb,” he said.
The news of the recovery of patients comes at a time the global rise in infections and deaths is being met with an increase in recoveries — more than 55,000 people have recovered from the disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says adults aged 65 and older, and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions such as heart and lung disease or diabetes, might be at higher risk from coronavirus.

WHO says those that experience mild symptoms typically recover from the illness in about two weeks, while those who experience more severe illness could take up to six weeks to recover.

Nine more people have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Kenya to 25.

TWO FOREIGNERS
Of the nine cases, seven are Kenyans while two are foreigners.

The confirmed cases, spread out in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale, were tested at various Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) labs throughout the country.

The CS said patients had been put in isolation and were being monitored.

He said the government was tracing those who have been in contact with the patients.

The government says it will announce further measures in view of the developments so far.

Patients are in isolation and are being monitored, with CS Kagwe adding that officials are tracing 745 close contacts of the patients.

Some 98 people have been discharged after completing a two-week quarantine while 15 are still at the Infectious Diseases Unit waiting for results.

TESTING KITS
Mr Kagwe appreciated the donation of more than 20,000 testing kits from Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma and the Alibaba Foundation, saying that in the coming days they would carry out more tests.

The first batch of the equipment arrived in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Sunday, March 22, with more supplies to be shipped in the coming weeks.

Africa has recorded more than 1,300 cases of the coronavirus, the WHO says.

South African President President Cyril Ramaphosa — the country is Africa’s most impacted by the coronavirus — has announced a 21-day national lockdown as Covid-19 figures surged on Monday to over 400 from 274 on Sunday.

FOLLOW:The Coronavirus Tracker

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