More Covid cases as Kenyans defy directive to mask and keep distance

Mutahi Kagwe

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe during the interview in his office at Afya House on March 9, 2022.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

At least 427 more people had tested positive for Covid-19 as of June 25, pushing Kenya’s positivity rate to about 13 per cent.

This is according to Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, who said the new cases came out of the tested sample size of 3,291 people. The new figure means the total number of cases recorded in the country stands is 331,966, out of the 3.7 million tests so far conducted by the government.

Mr Kagwe, in a press statement, said that of those who tested positive, Nairobi had the highest number of cases at 259, followed by Kiambu at 36, Siaya 24, Mombasa 15, Nakuru 15, Kilifi 13 and Kirinyaga 13.

“Today, 467 patients have recovered from the disease, 454 are from the home-based and isolation care programme, while 13 are from health facilities. This pushes the total recoveries to 322,241, of whom 269,109 are from the home-based care and isolation programme, while 53,132 are from health facilities,” said Mr Kagwe.

Other regions that reported new cases included Kericho 12, Uasin Gishu 12, Kisumu seven, Garissa four, Laikipia four, Nyandarua four and Kitui two. Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kisii, Lamu, Machakos, Meru and Taita Taveta had one each.

“Fortunately, no patient has succumbed to the disease; therefore, the cumulative fatalities remain 5,651,” Mr Kagwe said.

Across the country, people continue to defy calls to mask and keep social distance.

Despite the reinstatement of masking, residents of the North Rift are still reluctant to do so, with police taken to task to explain the non-compliance.

A spot check by Sunday Nation in West Pokot matatu, churches and supermarkets showed that locals are not observing the one-metre social distance requirement. Many people relaxed after the rate of infection went down.

And in Bungoma, police have been put on the spot for not arresting residents who are not masking. Bungoma is among the counties where infection is reported to be on the rise. County Health chief officer Patrick Wandili has urged residents to wear masks while in public places as one of the precautions to curb the spread of the virus.

Even as residents of Nakuru lower their guard by not wearing the masks, authorities are warning that the region is experiencing a steady rise in cases. County acting chief public health officer Daniel Wainaina Ndung’u says cases have risen steadily.

“By Saturday, we had 10 admissions—seven in Nakuru and three in Naivasha. Unfortunately, last week one patient succumbed to the disease in Nakuru.”

Dr Ndung’u said the county was well prepared for any surge and has expanded its intensive-care units from 24 to 44.

Kisumu locals also continue to defy the directive to mask and social-distance following the latest upsurge in the country. A similar situation prevails in Kakamega.

Reporting by Silas Apollo, Angeline Ochieng, Shaban Makokha, George Odiwuor and Okong’o Oduya, Oscar Kakai, Francis Mureithi and Brian Ojamaa