Kenya reports first coronavirus death

An isolation bed at Mbagathi Hospital, Nairobi. Kenya lost its first patient to coronavirus (Covid-19) today. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Coronavirus on Thursday claimed its first victim in Kenya as the national tally of confirmed cases stood at 31.

The patient was a 66-year-old Kenyan male who had a long-term medical condition, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said.

He died this afternoon at an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Agakhan Hospital where had been admitted.

"The man who was suffering from diabetes arrived in the country on March 13, 2020, from South Africa via Swaziland," Kagwe said in a statement.

The news, which CS Kagwe described as sad, comes barely hours after Kenya announced her first recovery from the highly-contagious virus.

The recovery was of a 27-year-old won who tested positive to the virus on March 13. Codenamed patient zero, for being the first recorded case in Kenya, her recovery gave the country a much-awaited hope against the pandemic.

Earlier today, Kenya confirmed three more cases of the virus to add to yesterday’s tally of 28.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said the latest cases were all female Kenyans and close contacts of previous reported cases.

She said two of the cases were from Kilifi County while the other was from Nairobi.

"In the last 24 hours, we sent 74 samples to be tested in health facilities. Three of those turned out positive," CAS Mwangangi said in a press briefing.

The three have been taken into isolation.  

Mwangangi said that the government was tracing about 1,029 persons who came into contact with the infected.

Since the first case was confirmed, 123 people have been discharged after completing the required 14-day quarantine period.

Eighteen patients are admitted at Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi.

"We urge people to strictly observe social distancing especially in areas emerging as hotspots such as Kilifi," Dr Mwangangi warned.

The CAS also said that the government had placed more than 2,000 people who arrived in the country this week on mandatory quarantine and that they shall be tested in due time.

"In the event that some countries would like to evacuate their citizens from Kenya, this will be handled through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."