What you need to know:
- While Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman Wednesday warned of major spikes in Covid-19 numbers should the economy be reopened.
- The ministry’s other CAS, Dr Mercy Mwangangi, is on record insisting that the counties are prepared and, therefore, the country is ready for reopening.
The Ministry of Health appears to be sending mixed signals over proposals to reopen the country in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic.
While Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman Wednesday warned of major spikes in Covid-19 numbers should the economy be reopened, the ministry’s other CAS, Dr Mercy Mwangangi, is on record insisting that the counties are prepared and, therefore, the country is ready for reopening.
Dr Aman noted that several countries that had reopened have experienced major spikes in infections, and are hurriedly closing down again.
“The countries that reopened closed down again because of the increase in the number of infections. We must strike a balance between (moving our country forward) and avoiding (a further) upsurge in cases. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” he said.
Dr Aman said a majority of Kenyans wanted the government to reopen the economy despite the country’s current infection rate.
“This discussion is unavoidable but it is clear that there is laxity by a majority of our people in adhering to the containment measures, and are aiding the spread,” he said.
Dr Mwangangi had in an earlier update indicated that, since the reopening of the economy was pegged on counties’ preparedness and they had met most of the guidelines, then the containment measures could be lifted.
“We are prepared in terms of testing and surveillance ... we have case management protocols and experts and have managed over 1,000 recoveries, so we know how to handle asymptomatic, mild, moderate and severe cases,” said Dr Mwangangi.
Dr Aman said individual responsibility and ramping up of preparedness are key interventions that must be at the top of the country’s response list.
“You will recall that counties had been given a target of a 300-bed isolation capacity by the President (but) we must also raise our level of individual compliance with the containment measures,” said the CAS.
“I want to make a special appeal to each of us to take individual responsibility in this fight. The huge numbers we are recording can only be halted if we adhere to the measures that we have advised,” he added.
Yesterday, the country recorded the highest number of infections in a day at 307 (215 males and 92 females) since the first case was registered on March 13, after testing 3,591 samples. This brought the Covid-19 caseload to 6,673 from cumulative samples of 173, 355 tested.
Out of the number that tested positive, 289 were Kenyans while 18 were foreigners. The youngest was one-year-old while the oldest was 81 years.
The cases were distributed in 14 counties, Nairobi leading with 154 cases, Mombasa 38, Machakos 33, Kiambu and Narok 20 cases each.
Kajiado 14, Busia 10, Makueni and Nakuru five each, Kericho four with Kilifi, Kisumu, Kitui and Uasin Gishu recording a case each.
The country has discharged 50 patients from various hospitals, bringing total recoveries to 2,089.
One more patient succumbed to the virus with the fatalities climbing to 149 countrywide. Health Services Director-General, Patrick Amoth, said the increase in the numbers signifies that the country is headed to its peak, although with the high numbers, it was not possible to contact-trace all the cases.
“Around July and August, our numbers will go up and that’s when we are heading to the peak but this might not make contact-tracing easy because of logistics that surround it,” Dr Amoth said.
Contact-tracing, he said, worked best when the numbers were few but with an upsurge, it was an expensive and difficult task to perform.
“We might not get all the contacts but we are trying to get as many people as we can to cut the transmission rate,” he said.