Kenya: We're Ready for Return of Kenyans From Abroad, Says State

Dr Loice Achieng Ombajo at the Kenyatta National Hospital Infectious Disease Unit. She is the principal investigator in the study.

The government has said it is ready to accommodate hundreds of Kenyans expected to land in the country from abroad from tomorrow as the Covid-19 case load inches closer to 500.

The national tally of confirmed cases jumped to 490 yesterday after 25 more cases tested positive. Fifteen of them were from Nairobi and 10 from Mombasa.

All are Kenyans with no history of travel, indicating the extent of community transmissions.

Thirteen of the latest confirmed cases are male and 12 female. Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi gave their age as between six months and 60 years.

The cases are distributed in Eastleigh (eight), Mathare (one), Umoja (two), Kawangware (two), Kahawa West (one) Kariobangi South (one). In Mombasa, the cases are from Old Town (eight), Bombululu (one) and Jomvu (one). Six more people recovered yesterday, bringing the total number of survivors to 173.

Health ministry said it had put in place measures to address public apathy towards the tests after it emerged that many are afraid of the high costs of quarantine.

Dr Mwangangi said those who are unable to pay will be taken care of through a social welfare programme.

"We're trying to put in place mechanisms that will remove stigma from testing and facilitate Kenyans who will not afford quarantine services," she said.

Not a punishment

She asked Kenyans to come forward for testing, saying, keeping away will put lives in danger as those infected will go undetected. Quarantine, she insisted, is a public health intervention and not a punishment.

Health Director-General Patrick Amoth said the isolation sites will be opened up again to cater for Kenyans who will be returning home from tomorrow.

Dr Mwangangi said of the virus: "To stop the infections, each and every one of us must take precautions and religiously practice the containment measures."

She added" We must observe social distancing, wash hands, stay at home, and only go out when absolutely necessary. Whenever out in a public place, one must wear a face mask."

The CAS expressed concerns that some vendors are allowing more than one person to fit several face masks without buying. "This is a dangerous practice which can lead to mass infections. Vendors are advised to package masks according to sizes to limit the possibility of contamination," she said.

Dr Amoth said the government is in discussions with health workers who have issued a strike notice.

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