INDIAN NATIONALS IN KISUMU

Five cases of Indian Covid variant confirmed in Kenya - Health ministry

The five are Indian nationals working on a fertiliser plant in Kisumu.

In Summary

• Health DG Dr Patrick Amoth says the five cases were picked up on Thursday last week on arrival in the country before the ban on flights from India was imposed.

• The area has been reinforced in collaboration with public health officials in Kisumu county to ensure the variant does not spread.

Director General of Health Patrick Amoth.
Director General of Health Patrick Amoth.
Image: FILE

Five cases of the Indian coronavirus variant have been picked in the country, the Ministry of Health has confirmed

The five are Indian nationals working on a fertiliser plant in Kisumu.

Health DG Dr Patrick Amoth says the five cases were picked up on Thursday last week on arrival in the country before the ban on flights from India was imposed.

The area has been reinforced in collaboration with public health officials in Kisumu county to ensure the variant does not spread.

"This variant has been picked in Kenya and because of connectivity, it was just a matter of time. You cannot be able to put barriers to prevent a virus from accessing your territory," Amoth said.

"We picked this from a sample of Indian travellers who are doing some work in the western part of Kisumu. We have gone ahead together with the Kisumu county health team to do contact tracing."

The results of the genome sequencing that is ongoing at the Kemri Walter Reed in Kisumu are expected in a week.

Dr Amoth has noted that the five were staying in a camp, making it easier to do contact tracing.

The B.1.617 variant has been blamed for India’s second wave of infections that has seen the country’s cases surge to more than 20 million.

The variant has been classified by the World Health Organisation as a variant of interest.

The variant was recorded in Uganda last week. The variant had been detected in recent days on a Ugandan who had returned from a visit to India.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has warned India’s intense outbreak was a reminder that Africa must stay vigilant.

“The variant will definitely go anywhere because you cannot put a wall and stop the virus from moving and what viruses do is to mutate so they change; sometimes they mutate and change and become weak, sometimes that change makes them stronger.”

Last week, the government imposed a ban on flights between India and Kenya for 14 days as India continues to battle with the deadliest second wave.