CASES SURPASS 1,000

Eastleigh and Old Town lockdown extended to June 6

Restaurants, eateries and malls to remain closed during the period

In Summary

•Movement of people within the two areas is however allowed.

CS Health Mutahi Kagwe tests one of four mobile laboratories donated by the German government to help fight coronavirus at Afya House on May 20, 2020
MOBILE LAB: CS Health Mutahi Kagwe tests one of four mobile laboratories donated by the German government to help fight coronavirus at Afya House on May 20, 2020
Image: MERCY MUMO

Residents of Eastleigh in Nairobi and Old Town in Mombasa will have to bear with an extended lockdown for another 15 days.

The cessation of movement will be in effect until June 6, the government announced on Wednesday.

During the period, restaurants, eateries and malls are to remain closed.

Eastleigh and Old Town were partially locked down by the government on May 6 after they emerged as the country’s coronavirus hotspots with most of the positive cases.

Movement of people within the two areas is, however, allowed.

The directive is expected to further hurt the operations of small and medium size enterprises especially in Eastleigh which is already suffering from broken supply chains owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, the number of positive cases in the country surpassed the 1,000 mark. This was after 66 new cases were confirmed by the ministry in 24 hours, raising the total to 1,029.

Out of the total confirmed cases yesterday, 26 were from Nairobi while 30 were from Mombasa. Kajiado recorded three cases as the area continued to face the challenge of cross-border truck drivers.

Kisii, Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Kirinyaga, Makueni and Meru recorded one case each.

Sixty-four of the cases were Kenyans while two were foreign nationals from Somalia and Rwanda.

The ministry received two mobile laboratories to increase the testing capacity especially at the Namanga border point which has experienced congestion of cargo trucks in the last few weeks.

The handover of the labs took place at Afya House in the presence of German ambassador Annette Gunther.

The mobile labs are equipped to support at least 2,000 tests per day.

“We are proactively looking to enhance our capacity in mitigating these health challenges to the strengthening of the disease surveillance and response systems,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said.

Kagwe noted that a key pillar lay in strengthening laboratory networks across the region.

Germany through the Germany Development Bank has already supported the establishment of a regional network of public health reference laboratories for communicable diseases.

The labs, according to the CS, will help strengthen each partner state’s capacity.

“In the last month, we have seen a rise in Covid-19 cases detected among truck drivers at various border points. We plan that one lab will be stationed at Namanga where as you know there is a problem at the Kenya-Tanzania border and the other one at Naivasha dry port,” Kagwe said.

The ministry also received mobile lab accessories, testing reagents, consumables, PPEs, ICT equipment such as laptops and electrical systems.

Kenya has put in measures to ensure that the truck drivers are tested on time and prior to their journey and receive a repeat test each 14 days, Kagwe said.

“We recognise the truck drivers and their counterparts in the transport industry for their continued support to ensure that we have adequate supply of food and medicine across the EAC countries.”

The ministry has entered into partnership with the International Livestock Research Institute to support testing capacity in the country, with an additional 800 tests per day.

Gunther applauded the Kenyan government for putting in place quick and clear measures that had played a key role in slowing down the spread of the virus.

The 66 new cases were from 2,621 samples tested in a day. The total number of tests conducted since the first case stood at 49,405.

Eight more people were discharged from hospital, bringing the total number of patients who have successfully undergone treatment and recovered to 366.

The new cases are aged between 10 and 64 years, comprising of 43 men and 23 women.

On a positive note, no patient succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours. The total number of fatalities in the country remains at 50.

Kenya has been able to keep the case fatality rate at 5.6 per cent despite the growing number of infections.

 

Edited by Henry Makori