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559 test positive as Kagwe says it's time to take corona battle to counties

Health & Science

The Health ministry has urged counties to hold emergency meetings to curtail the spread of Covid-19 in their respective regions.

Speaking at Afya House on Monday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe (pictured) said since the beginning of this month, Kenya has recorded 14,927 positive cases. It is only the middle of the month. In the same time, Kenya has lost 274 people.

The deaths of the frontline healthcare workers has "hit us where it hurts most". This month alone, eight healthcare workers have died, a situation CS Kagwe likened to Kenya losing its own soldiers in the corona war.

In view of the rising cases and deaths, the health ministry met the National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus and representatives from the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union.

Other measures include counties taking stock of their oxygen reservoirs in hospitals as well as personal protective equipment for the healthcare workers. According to CS Kagwe, health facilities in Kisii, Mombasa and Nairobi have adequate oxygen.

CS Kagwe further urged counties to work closely with the national government, especially the Interior and Health ministries, on protocols and guidelines to ensure flow of information on the containment of Covid-19 cases.

In consultation with the doctors' unions, the National Hospital Insurance Fund has been instructed to conclude the negotiations for comprehensive group life, enhanced work and injury benefits and group personal accidents cover for Covid-19 as approved by the Cabinet. The conclusion is set to be announced tomorrow, CS Kagwe said.

But even as the ministry clutches at straws by announcing a raft of measures to cushion healthworkers, the Health docket chief admitted that Kenyans are still not playing their role. He cited funerals, weddings and other gatherings where attendants do not adhere to the laid down rules such as wearing masks and maintaining social distance.

"We appeal to the police and other enforcement agencies, as per instructions by the President during the last national address, to implement the laid down protocols given as far as these gatherings are concerned," CS Kagwe added.

"These are not normal times."

The stern-talking Health chief attributed the increased cases of Covid-19 to Kenyans' laxity in observing the laid down rules. Further, Kenyans were asked to practise self responsibility when they suspect they may have been exposed to the virus. When visiting a health facility, one is advised to properly wear their facemask and make it known that they have been exposed.

Better yet, one is advised to contact 719 before visiting any facility to be advised on the appropriate measures by the public health official.

Meanwhile, 559 people have tested positive for coronavirus from a sample of 3,074 in Kenya in the last 24 hours. This pushes the national tally to 70,804. Eighteen of those who tested positive are foreigners.

In Nairobi, 278 cases were reported, 42 being from Lang'ata.

Some 478 patients recovered, the majority of them from the home-based care programme. In the last 24 hours, 18 patients succumbed to Covid-19, pushing the fatality tally to 1,287.

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