One more person has tested positive for the coronavirus bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Kenya to 16 – according to Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.
CS Kagwe gave the latest update during a press briefing at Afya House.
The patient, according to Kagwe, came into contact with one of the eight cases that were reported yesterday – Sunday, March 22.
Kagwe said the National Government in conjunction with county governments had managed to trace 646 people who came into contact with the 16 cases that have been confirmed to date.
The 646 persons have been traced through a follow-up programme developed by the government to contain the disease. Out of those traced, 96 have been released after completing 14 days of isolation.
“We have managed to trace 646 persons that came into contact with the 16 cases in the country and (we) are processing them,” he told the media.
Kagwe has cautioned matatu operators against hiking fares following the government directive asking them to reduce the number of passengers to reduce transmission rates.
He said it was immoral for matatu operators to overcharge commuters who have also been affected by the ongoing crisis, adding that the move will be counterproductive in the fight against coronavirus.
“Look at the situation and understand that commuters are not in the situation they were before and treat them fairly,” he said.
Kagwa said reiterated the suspension of the international flights effective March 25 as a measure to prevent importation of additional cases in the country.
He said that all passengers coming into the country between now and March 25 will undergo mandatory quarantine at their own expenses in government designated facilities.
He praised Kenyans who have complied with measures taken by the government and urged everyone to strictly observe the directives to help in the fight against the bug.
Reported cases as at Sunday, March 22
Kagwe on Sunday told the nation that an additional eight people tested positive bringing the number to 15.
He also announced a list of measures on top of the previous ones to curb the spread of the disease.
Kagwe closed all pubs beginning Sunday evening and urged Kenyans to stay indoors to contain the spread of the disease.
The CS also announced the cancellation of all international flights beginning Wednesday to curb the spread of the virus.
In his Sunday evening address, Kagwe said the government made plans to airlift the patient from Msambweni, Kwale County to Nairobi for further treatment.
CS Kagwe has also confirmed that a senior Kilifi County official who defied the self-quarantine directive is among the additional eight cases confirmed today.
To this, Kagwe said that the official will face prosecution for failure of complying with the guidelines.
“All persons who violate the self-quarantine requirement will be forcefully quarantined at their own cost and thereafter arrested and charged. This will apply to a senior government official in Kilifi who refused to self-quarantine,” Kagwe said.
Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai also emphasised the need for self-quarantine, saying those who do not practice it risk being charged.
Earlier, Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi was forcefully placed under 14-day isolation after he refused to self-quarantine. Saburi had returned home from a trip to Germany.