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Kenya reports record 24-hour Covid-19 cases

Health & Science

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe holds an assault rifle when he visited the KWS Law Enforcement Academy in Manyani, Taita Taveta County on October 16, 2020. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Some 1,494 more people have been infected with the coronavirus, the highest single day increase in cases since the first one in the country was reported in March, data from the health ministry showed on Wednesday.

The new cases – from some 8,839 tests – pushes the country's case load to 58,587 on the day President Uhuru Kenyatta has said Kenya "is a staring new wave of the pandemic."

The surge, according to Mr Kenyatta, has been occasioned by the drop of guard after tough restrictions meant to limit the virus spread were lifted.

From the new cases, 1,453 were Kenyans and 41 foreigners, the Mr Mutahi Kagwe-led health ministry said in a statement.

"In terms of gender 870 are males and 624 females. The youngest is a 10-month old infant, while the oldest is 98"

The top three counties by infection load were Nairobi at 414, Nakuru reported 188 and Mombasa with 173. Kiambu (150) and Uasin Gishu (107) also recorded triple-digit infections.

"Currently, there are 1,313 patients admitted in various health facilities countries, while 5,005 are on home-based isolation and care," said the ministry.

It went on: "57 patients are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 25 of whom are ventilator support and 27 on supplemental oxygen. Another 95 patients are separately on supplementary oxygen of whom 77 are in the general wards, while 18 are in the High Dependency Unit."

According to the data, 586 had recovered from the disease in the past 24 hours to increase discharges to 38,381. From the new recoveries, 413 had been admitted under the home-based care program to free up the much-needed hospital bed space.

This is as 12 patients succumbed to the disease to bring the fatality to 1,051.

Re-imposed measures

Today's virus numbers add to the surge of cases in the past few weeks that has led to the reintroduction of Covid-19 containment measures.

Some 38 days after the rules were relaxed in September, covid bed occupancy has gone up by 140 per cent, the positivity rate has also shot from 4 per cent to an average of 16 per cent in October.

In October only, Kenya had over 15,000 new cases and approximately 300 deaths.

"The stringent measures saw a fall in new cases from 4720 during the first week of July 2020 to 866 new cases during the second week of September 2020. But when we de-escalated measures in September 2020, the 866 new cases recorded in the second week of September rose to 6402 cases by the last week of October 2020," President Uhuru Kenyatta told a televised addressed on Wednesday.

As such, he announced some of the relaxed rules, saying "if the nation is succumbing to the fatigue created by the virus, it would be a tragedy if the leaders give in to the weariness as well."

A summary of the rules include;

1. All ministries to scale down contact engagements and go virtual when possible.

2. All government officials aged 58 and above years to work home with exception of those working on critical departments.

3. Those who reopened schools to continue with classes. The remaining to officially resume in January.

4. All political gathering and rallies are suspended for a period of 60 days.

5. The ministry of interior to constitute a special unit to enforce all Covid-19 protocols.

6.The curfew will now be enforced from 10PM to 4AM. Curfew has also been extended up to 3rd January 2020

7. All bars and restaurants must close by 9Pm.

8. Eateries and entertainment joints to comply with Covid-19 guidelines failure to which the premises will be shutdown.

9. Religious gatherings guidelines remain unchanged.

10. The national government will issue localised lockdown in counties high cases of Covid-19 to tame the spread.

11. New campaign ‘No mask no service’ launched.

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