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Keep an eye on new variants to avert coronavirus resurgence

By Editorial | January 15th 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Going by the Health ministry's daily briefings on Covid-19, Kenya has made remarkable progress in the war against the pandemic in recent weeks.

The number of cases reported daily continues to reduce. On Wednesday, for instance, the Health Cabinet Secretary reported that only 123 people had tested positive for coronavirus out of 4,948 samples.

The decrease in number of cases is, without doubt, very good news. It is an indication that things can get much better if we continue to observe the Health ministry's protocols to the letter.

If fact, things could get even better soon, as according Mr Kagwe has announced that Kenya might receive the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines before the end of this month.

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But they could also get worse if we become complacent and drop our guard due to the falling of cases. And not only that. There is a more ominous threat: The new coronavirus variants.

Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) has warned that 16 new SARS-CoV-2 variants could be spreading around the country. However, the agency is more concerned about one variant it found in Taita Taveta which is unique to Kenya.

There is need for scientists to monitor this new strain to understand whether it more lethal and the speed of its spread. But even as they do that, Kenya should keep its eyes peeled to prevent the new coronavirus variants reported in South Africa and United Kingdom (UK) — which have been found to be more transmissible — do not find their way into the country.

In England, for example, the new variant is said to be behind more than 60 per cent of the coronavirus cases.

Already, according to World Health Organisation, the UK strain has been found in 50 other countries.
The South African strain has been detected in 20 countries. Luckily, Kemri says none of these variants have been found here.

But it is obvious that they will land here soon if we do not take appropriate precautions. For that reason, the requirement for anyone entering Kenya, even from neighbouring countries, to have authentic Covid-19 test certificates must be strictly observed.

If that is not done and this contagious strains enter the country, we might once again have a health crisis of enormous proportions, which might once again bog down our health system. With learning institutions now fully reopened, the crisis might even be worse.

We must do everything possible to keep these new variants at bay.

Covid 19 Time Series

 


Covid-19 Kemri World Health Organisation
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