• Kisumu Health executive Boaz Nyunya on Thursday evening said tests are ongoing to confirm if the strain detected is the Indian variant.
• The first five cases were picked up in patients who had travelled from India on April 29, according to Health director general Dr Patrick Amoth.
Five more people from a cluster where the Indian Covid-19 variant has detected have tested positive.
Kisumu Health executive Boaz Nyunya on Thursday evening said tests are ongoing to confirm if the strain detected is the Indian variant.
The first five cases were picked up in patients who had travelled from India on April 29, according to Health director general Dr Patrick Amoth.
The five Indian nationals were working at a fertiliser plant in Kisumu. At least 100 of their contacts had been isolated.
On Thursday, the number of positive cases had risen to eight and has shot to 13 with the current figures.
Nyunya said the surveillance team contacted up 70 people who were in close contact with the first five cases.
"The gene sequencing might take some time but eventually we will know the type of the virus contained by the five tested positive in the last 24 hours," he said.
Nyunya told journalists that the county had stepped up its surveillance work.
The Health department is carrying court rapid tests on all traced contacts.
He said the situation is under control but urged Kisumu residents to be vigilant and adhere to Covid-19 protocols.
On Thursday, Kisumu residents expressed concern and shock at the news that the variant had been discovered in the county.
"Seeing what is happening in India, we have everything to worry about. This is scary news to everyone," Migosi estate resident Josephine Akech said.
Lawmakers from Kisumu have questioned the government's surveillance at the ports of entry.
MPs Onyango Koyoo (Muhoroni), James Nyikal (Seme), Rose Nyamunga (nominated Senator) and Olago Aluoch (Kusumu West) asked the Ministry of Health to explain how the individuals were allowed into the country.
"We want to know how they passed the airport to Kisumu," Nyikal said.
"What special expertise do they have that is not locally available. The information that is available is that they were labourers," said Olago.
The MPs spoke at a press conference at Parliament Buildings on Thursday.
Nyamunga called for immediate government intervention to control the spread of the new variant.
(edited by o. owino)