Lockdown looms as Covid-19 spreads in Kenya

A policeman turns away a woman at road block in Nairobi’s Eastleigh Estate during a lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 in May.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the second wave is alarming as acting Director-General Dr Patrick Amoth noted that the government may be forced to institute stricter measures.
  • Covid-19 cases have surged not only in Kenya but also globally. On Wednesday, the world witnessed the highest spike from the time the pandemic started in December 2019.

The Ministry of Health has warned that the rising Covid-19 cases could cause a major public health crisis that will result in fresher restrictions.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the second wave is alarming as acting Director-General Dr Patrick Amoth noted that the government may be forced to institute stricter measures as many Kenyans continue to disregard health protocols.

“Everything is on the table; it is a question of which one to deploy, “Dr Amoth told the Saturday Nation in Mombasa yesterday. “The worst of course is a total lockdown, which causes severe socio-economic disruptions, but if the government is pushed to the wall… you heard France again re-imposed a lockdown. Germany too.”

On Friday, total infections rose to clock 53,797 after 1,185 people tested positive. The country lost 17 new patients bringing the tally to 981.

Experts attribute the increasing cases of community infections to disregard for public health protocols.

Key meeting

President Uhuru Kenyatta is next week expected to hold a meeting with governors on how to manage the current wave.

Lockdown and increased curfew hours, are among the measures on the card.

Dr Amoth urged citizens to be responsible for their own health.

“Critical care costs Sh75,000 per day at a minimum. The large proportion of the cost is contributed by used protective gear,” he said.

He noted that with the home-based care that the government has embraced, it does not spend any amount of money.

"It is the community health volunteers who are supported by counties that provide the care. That is the best approach for us going forward because majority of our patients are asymptomatic and, therefore, we can be able to manage them at home and reduce the cost and also ensure,” stressed Dr Amoth.

Global surge

Covid-19 cases have surged not only in Kenya but also globally.

On Wednesday, the world witnessed the highest spike from the time the pandemic started in December 2019, when 2.8 million cases and nearly 40, 000 new deaths were recorded by October 25, in just seven days.

Dr Ahmed Kalebi, a pathologist and the CEO Lancet Group of Laboratories, said the second wave in Kenya is expected to be worse than the first one.

“The peak for the second wave has reached the same level as that of the first wave and it seems to be a steeper curve, meaning that we are likely to see more cases in the second wave surpassing the first wave,” he said.

Currently, Europe is witnessing the sharpest rise in infections, prompting lockdowns and restrictions in France and Germany.

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