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Kisumu Covid-19 situation ahead of Madaraka day

 Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium on May 26, 2021. (Collins Oduor, Standard)


On May 18, Kisumu surpassed Nairobi County in the number of Covid-19 cases reported in the country. It recorded 102 cases. On May 19 the county recorded the second-highest number of cases (64) in the country.

Dr Patrick Amoth, the Ministry of Health acting Director-General, on May 5th, reported that 5 cases of Indian variant been discovered in the country before the country banned flights from India.

“We picked this from a sample of Indian travellers who are doing some work in the western part of Kisumu. Health teams are doing contact tracing,” he said.

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

Starting from May 1, Kenya had banned all passenger flights from India for two weeks to minimize the risk of the spread of the coronavirus strain.

 Final touches at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium Kisumu on May 26, 2021 ahead of Madaraka day on June 1. (Collins Oduor, Standard)

Kisumu County is one of the first counties in Kenya to report the Indian variant in the country with five cases which were reported on May 5. The cases later jumped to 28.

“We urge Kenyans to be on the lookout because the Indian variant is deadly. As of 17th this month, 28 people in Nyanza have tested positive for the Indian variant” Kagwe said while in a polio vaccination tour in Kibera.

The cases have been spreading fast to other nearby counties. On Tuesday 26th the lakeside counties recorded a total of 139 cases. Kisumu 67, Siaya 55, Kisii 9, Homa Bay 8.

Health officials have warned the country may witness another wave of covid 19 in July if people continue to disregard health protocols designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. According to Acting Director of Health Dr Patrick Amoth the pandemic has established a pattern where a peak is witnessed after every three months.

This comes as Kisumu prepares to host the Madaraka Day ceremony on June 1 that President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to attend. 

Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o says the county is well prepared to host the celebrations adding that Covid-19 protocols will be observed.

The event will be held at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium which has a capacity of at least 35,000 people but it’s said only 3,000 people will be allowed in the stadium. Other people will be hosted at Kirembe and Owour grounds.

On 19 May, Governor Nyong’o warned residents against throwing caution to the winds as their laxity might cost them. He also admitted that health facilities in the county were already getting overwhelmed.

 Final touches at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium Kisumu on May 26, 2021 ahead of Madaraka day on June 1. (Collins Oduor, Standard)

The governor has also been quoted saying that the Madaraka Day celebration cannot be postponed, despite the Covid-19 risk.

"We can't postpone the celebration. We have discussed this matter with the National Celebration Committee and agreed that the celebration will go on as planned," said Prof Nyong'o.

Nyong’o has downplayed concerns over the safety of the upcoming Madaraka fete to be held in the County in the wake of the new variant, maintaining the situation is under control. 

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has urged counties to prepare well for the imminent Covid-19 fourth wave.

“We are asking county governments to prepare themselves particularly with the supply of oxygen and piping the hospital wards,” said Kagwe

Even as the vaccines are set to expire on June 28, the uptake has been dragging. So far only 960,379 people have been vaccinated.

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