Kenya: COVID-19 - 'Bad Behaviour' Sets Kenya Back as Cases Shoot to 7,886

Some of the facilities at the Mandera County Referral Hospital's Intensive Care Unit.

Three hundred and nine more people have contracted the coronavirus, the Health ministry announced on Sunday, raising Kenya's total number of cases to 7,886.

The country has recently been reporting hundreds of cases of the virus every day, with health officials saying the public's bad behavior is to blame.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman raised this concern in Sunday's daily briefing,

reminding the country of the deadly nature of the virus and urging individuals to adhere to basic measures to curb its spread, including regular washing of hands and maintaining social distance.

Dr Aman regretted that house parties are being held and that passenger service vehicles, boda boda riders and other service providers, especially in rural areas, have relaxed their preventive measures.

Dr Aman said Kenyans are "behaving normally and going about their daily activities as if nothing is happening".

He said PSVs and boda boda riders have reverted to "the bad old ways of carrying passengers above capacity".

"The number of cases in the last few days shows measures are not being adhered to," he said, highlighting the statistics for the last few days.

WORRYING TREND

Kenya recorded 120 Covid-19 cases on Monday, 176 on Tuesday, 307 on Wednesday, 268 on Thursday, 247 on Friday, when it passed the 7,000 mark, and a record 389 on Saturday.

Besides the 309 new infections on Sunday, Dr Aman also reported that 51 people had been discharged from hospital, raising the country's total number of recoveries to 2,287.

He noted that the new infections were recorded in 37 of the 47 counties in the country, from where 4,228 samples were collected.

Ten counties accounted for the majority of the cases, he said, identifying them as Nairobi, Mombasa, Narok, Busia, Nandi, Nakuru, Kajiado, Kisumu, Turkana and Makueni.

With most samples (86.4 per cent) having been collected in Nairobi, it led with 193 new cases and was followed by Kajiado with 22.

Kajiado had one of the lowest caseloads at three per cent.

Kiambu had 20 cases, Mombasa 18, Makueni 17, Busia 11, Machakos nine, Nakuru eight, Nandi and Turkana three each, Turkana and Narok two each and Nyandarua, Kakamega and Kilifi one each.

In Nairobi, Lang'ata led with 56 cases and was followed by Kibra with 18 cases.

All but seven of the new patients were Kenyans with men numbering 217 and women 92. They were aged between one and 83 years.

WORRYING STATISTICS

A computation of daily averages of Covid-19 cases for seven days for over a month from May 17 to July 4, shows infections are rising steeply.

Dr Aman reported that between May 17 and May 23, the daily average was 52 cases while the average was 99 cases between May 24 and May 30.

Between May 31 and June 6, the average was 102 cases per day and between June 7 and June 13, it was 122 cases.

The CAS said the cases increased to an average of 146 per day between June 14 and June 20 while from June 21 to June 27, the average was 190. Between June 28 and July 4, the cases jumped exponentially to an average of 261 per day.

"This is proof that our cases are rising and that the curve is beginning to become steep. These rising infections imply that many more people will require critical care and our healthcare facilities risk being overwhelmed," said Dr Aman.

In the past few weeks, political gatherings have increased, while there are increasing cases of people bribing themselves through roadblocks to cross over into or out of closed counties of Nairobi and Mombasa.

"These are practices that require personal responsibility. The expectation to have an enforcement officer to police every person is not possible. We must therefore rise up to the occasion and be responsible citizens, failure to which the disease will decimate our society," the CAS said.

TREATMENT FACILITIES

There are reports that critical care hospital units for Covid-19 cases are overwhelmed. This is in addition to the fact that the capacity to admit critically sick patients is still weak, with only 23 out of the 47 counties having attained the 300 isolation bed capacity as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

There are 9,300 Covid-19 isolation beds, as opposed to a national target of 30,500 beds, a report has shown.

Fatalities too are on the rise and Kenya's current rate is 2.09 per cent, compared to the global average of 6.9 per cent.

"While we think the death rate is within the recommended global standard, it should still remain of great concern to us because no life should be lost under any circumstance," said Dr Aman.

The 4,228 samples analysed in the last 24 hours raised the total number of samples tested in the country to 189,263.

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