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VIDEO: Coronavirus cases jump to 25

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Kenya has confirmed nine more coronavirus cases raising the total number of cases in the country to 25.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe on Tuesday said that in the last 24 hours 82 cases had been tasted in the country.

The cases were tested in Nairobi Mombasa Kilifi and Kwale and include seven Kenyans and two foreigners.

Two of the cases were confirmed to have been from close contacts while the rest were from people who had travelled in the country.

The samples were tested in various laboratories in Kemri, Kilifi and AgaKhan. Patients in isolation are being monitored and tracing for new patients is ongoing.

“We have always felt that they have extra exposure and have taken measures and they have all been taken into isolation and are being monitored by our personnel,” said Mr Kagwe.

The total number of close contacts stands at 745. Out of this, 98 have been discharged after completing 14 days of quarantine.

Some 98 people have been discharged after completing the 14-day quarantine while 15 at Mbagathi are waiting for results.

The CS said that they have had challenges at JKIA and designated mandatory-quarantine areas adding that the government had streamlined the process and further measures will be introduced to ease inconvenience.

READ ALSO:   Coronavirus: Govt reveals 3 more suspected cases, 14 quarantined

“There have been challenges at JKIA as well as designated hotels and government facilities where we are taking the travellers for mandatory quarantine…However, we have streamlined the process and this has been sorted,” he added.

“We will carry mandatory testing for all contact traced and all travellers.”

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Health

It started with an itchy throat, a dry cough then fever

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March 13 will remain forever be etched in Wanga Bress’s mind. Her husband came home from work with some bad news. Some people at his workplace had been diagnosed with Covid-19, including his immediate boss who he had interacted closely with.

Through the ministry of health in Germany, they were put on quarantine, to not leave the house unless necessary. It is then that reality hit her.

The news that cases of coronavirus were rising in Germany had been spreading, but she never imagined it would hit her home.  Then her husband started getting coughs. They were not too worried about it since he always gets allergies during winter. They went for a test and returned home with instructions to keep monitoring their temperatures three times each day.The next day, the bad news came.

“He was on phone with the hospital where he had taken the test. l stood across him, looking at him and trying to pick every word they said. I saw how his facial expression changed to that of horror. I knew the results were not good. Then he confirmed to me that he had tested positive to Covid-19. He had it,” says Bress.

Persistant cough

What followed, she says, was a whirlwind of emotions. Her husband was panicking, giving a list of all people he had interacted with so that they could be tracked and tested.

READ ALSO:   This man Mutahi Kagwe

“I started cleaning and disinfecting everywhere in the house. I took care of him. Our living room has good space, so we ensured there was always a two-metre distance between us,” says the resident of Schmallenberg town in North Rhine-Westphalia State .The other symptoms of Covid-19 began in earnest a few days after his diagnosis. His cough persisted, he would get fatigued and his temperature kept rising.

Bress says at that time, she felt it was important for her to take care of him.“I would give him soup and tea at different intervals. One evening l thought of my mum and how she would cover us with a blanket over a bucket of hot water steaming Muarubaini or Vicks to decongest our nostrils or chest. I decided to apply the same treatment to my husband. I used my facial steamer and added in a little bit of Vicks Vaporub. It worked well. He loved it. That night he slept well,” she says.

It is also the same night that Wanga says her temperature started rising and she started feeling sick.

“I had an itchy throat, dry cough, headache and fever,” she says. The next day, her symptoms got worse. She was now shivering and her temperature kept rising. She started getting anxious, since they were the same symptoms she had seen in her husband, and read on news to be what patients of Covid-19 get.

READ ALSO:   Corona is no joke, says Kagwe as cases hit 110

Deserted streets

“I would take asprin, but I was not getting any better,” she says.

She was called in for a test, one she says is extremely uncomfortable.

“Taking a coronavirus test is not pleasant at all. A swab stick is pushed so deep in the throat. I almost threw up. Then the same swab is pushed in one of the nostril,” she says, describing the moment as scary.

The streets of Germany are deserted, and only people with security clearance are allowed in hospitals. The air around is eerily quiet. Patients go in unaccompanied, and unlike the past where sick people go for tests held by their loved ones to assure them that things will get better, coronavirus means going in all alone.

She was not given any medication, as there is none yet. She was told to continue being on quarantine and manage her symptoms. As of Wednesday, she was beginning to feel better and her temperature was getting lower, a sign that her body’s immunity was fighting the virus.

“The condition spreads so fast from one person to another. We were told to only treat the symptoms as they come,” she says.

She records her symptoms every day and ensures she keeps away from her two children who have not shown any symptoms yet. Her experience has awakened her to the fact that coronavirus is real, and it takes just a few interactions to get it.

READ ALSO:   Coronavirus: Govt reveals 3 more suspected cases, 14 quarantined

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Corona is no joke, says Kagwe as cases hit 110

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Kenyans should brace themselves for tough times ahead, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe warned yesterday as the number of people infected with coronavirus surged past 100 while two more patients succumbed to the disease.

In his most candid admission yet of the grim situation the country is facing because of the rapid spread of the disease, the minister painted a worrisome picture in the coming days, sounding the alarm that coronavirus cases were going to rise, a situation that could force the government to impose more stringent restrictive measures.

“This number is going to rise and will do so exponentially. The virus is moved by you and I, therefore we need to change behaviour if we are to limit transmissions. Please do not wait to hear of death near you, for you to realise that this disease is not a joke,” said Kagwe.

The statistics, he added, are now showing that at least a third of the infections were local, given that 40 of those who were tested yesterday had not travelled outside the country. By yesterday 110 people had tested positive.

“The situation is getting worse. It is high time that we as a people take the directives given by the government seriously, maintain hygiene by sanitising and keeping social distance,” said the CS.

The minister, who appeared angry with the carefree attitude that Kenyans were displaying towards the pandemic with some mocking the recovering cases and branding the government’s efforts as mere public relations (PR) stunts, warned that those using social media to belittle the State’s efforts would be arrested.

READ ALSO:   It’s a living hell for Kenyans flying back from overseas

“Why would the government conspire with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to stage a PR stunt out of the current pandemic?” the CS posed.

He was alluding to adverse social media comments over the recovery of the first Corona patient Brenda Cherutich, who had a video chat with President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday.

In a no-holds-barred address at Afya House yesterday where he updated the country on the status of the pandemic, the CS warned those who claim that the spread of the disease is not as serious as the government is making it sound.

“Part of the disappointment is those who claim that they do not know anybody in their area, who has either died or been tested positive of the disease. This is precisely the effort we are trying to make so that we do not hear of death or a positive case,” the apparently frustrated CS said.

The minister said the controversial mandatory quarantine was paying off going by yesterday’s developments. All the additional 29 cases were of individuals who were on forced into isolation in Nairobi.

Prevent interaction

Out of the new cases, three were quarantined at the Aga Khan University Hospital, 11 at Crowne Plaza Hotel at the airport, one each at Nairobi Hospital and Pride Inn Hotel while six were in other isolation facilities. The net effect is that their isolation had prevented interaction with the public and relatives.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan student detained at Pride Inn hotel over Sh45K quarantine bill

“These are the people who would have travelled to their villages to stay with their next of kin, friends and even the aged,” Kagwe said.

Acting Director of Health Patrick Amoth, said 40 of those who have tested positive contracted the disease locally.

“This is a confirmation that the virus is here with us,” Amoth said even as it emerged that a 16-year-old was among the newly-infected.

Studies have indicated that elderly people and patients with existing medical conditions were the most vulnerable to the respiratory disease that has forced the government to impose a dawn-to-dusk curfew in the country.

The two patients who succumbed to the disease to bring the Corona toll to three were from Nairobi and Mombasa. One of the deceased was a Kenya Airways (KQ) pilot, Major (rtd) David Kibati, while the other worked at Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Ursula Buluma.

And in a mixture of fortunes, the CS announced that Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi, who had to be put on forced quarantine two weeks ago after failing to isolate himself, had recovered fully from the disease. The politician will be charged in court for allegedly failing to take precautions despite knowing his potential to infect others.

Saburi has been criticised for failing to adhere to a directive on 14-day self quarantine after he returned from a trip to Germany and went ahead to attend public functions in the county.

READ ALSO:   Articulate Kagwe excites Kenyans

“The Kilifi Deputy Governor has fully recovered after testing negative for the mandatory test three times … however, he will still be charged under the Public Health Act,” Kagwe said.

Those in quarantine were warned to adhere to social distancing with the CS cautioning some of them who are said to be loitering out of the isolation centres before the expiry of the mandatory 14 days that they were risking infection if they are negative.

The government also announced stiffer measures to deal with the disease, include observing high standards of hygiene.

Kagwe urged Kenyans to avoid mass movement from Nairobi to upcountry destinations, saying by so doing they would be endangering lives of those in the rural parts. “The only people who should be allowed to travel are those transporting food stuff,” Kagwe said.

It will also be mandatory for commuters using matatus, tuk tuk and boda bodas to wear masks at all times. The CS said the government had made arrangements for mass production of masks, which will be affordable to Kenyans.

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Stop dancing with death

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Defiance, a carefree attitude and dicing with death are slowly taking the coronavirus to the doorsteps of Kenyans with one result — infections, a spread of the virus and ultimately deaths.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has repeatedly shouted himself

hoarse on the looming danger and how to avoid it. However, only a few seem to be taking the warning and advice seriously. We now have three deaths and 110 positive cases.

And “the number will grow exponentially”, Mr Kagwe, for the umpteenth time, warned yesterday.

“Don’t wait to hear someone you know has died, that someone could be you,” he said.

Scientific advice

But a survey by the Nation yesterday showed a majority are not listening.

Bodaboda riders are still ferrying more than two passengers with no protective gear. Traders are interacting with customers oblivious of the possibility of infection while matatu crews always try to get that extra passenger on board.

Kenyans’ defiance of mandates and scientific advice to fight the coronavirus pandemic has led the government to panic, a move that is likely to elicit more stringent measures such as enhancing the current curfew or imposing a total lock-down.

Mr Kagwe could not hide his disappointment with Kenyans who have simply refused to follow rules to contain the virus despite what is happening in the rest of the world.

READ ALSO:   Articulate Kagwe excites Kenyans

The number of confirmed cases in the country went up by 29 yesterday, taking the total from 81 to 110. Two more deaths were also recorded yesterday, bringing to three the number of people who have lost the battle against Covid-19.

The CS said that from the trend of the rise in new cases, the government was considering stiffer measures.

“Fellow Kenyans, I do not want to scare you, but with the figures I have just read to you, the number is likely to rise. It’s important to note that this virus does not move by itself. It is moved by you and I. We must change our behaviour and attitude if we have to cut the transmission of the virus.

“But as of now, I urge you to take extreme precautionary measures wherever you are, by observing the highest standard of hygiene, social distancing, as well as any other measures the government has announced to you,” he said.

His remarks come just days after Health Director-General Patrick Amoth said the virus is not following a trend and is likely to infect thousands this month.

“We postulate that we could have 1,000 cases by the first week of April, 5,000 by mid-April and 10,000 by end of April,” he said.

The government will inevitably announce more numbers in the coming days since half of those in mandatory quarantine after arriving in Kenya are yet to be tested.

READ ALSO:   This man Mutahi Kagwe

So far, out of the 2,050 travellers who arrived in the country and were put in various quarantine facilities, the government has tested 1,042.

Out of this number, a total of 40 have been confirmed to be positive.

Dr Amoth has also said that we are currently in the community transmission phase with close to 50 of the confirmed cases coming from people who had neither travelled nor come directly into contact with a confirmed patient.

“We have pockets of clusters of community transmission 30 to 40 with no history of travel and no history of interacting with a confirmed case,” he said.

At yesterday’s briefing, the CS revealed a new measure to curb coronavirus spread. He announced that all public transport users will be required to wear face masks on board. Mr Kagwe said plans are underway to distribute face masks in the counties at a fair price.

“Public Service Vehicle operators and bodabodas shall be required to ensure that all their passengers and everybody they carry put on masks to help avert further spread of this disease.”

The minister also declared that the government has identified several players who will produce and distribute the masks countrywide.

“With the assistance of chiefs and bodaboda operators, the masks shall

No travelling upcountry

Mr Kagwe further noted that there will be no travelling upcountry to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“Those planning to travel for the Easter holidays, please don’t. Even when you are in Nairobi, unless there is something that you are doing, stay at home. It is important for us to start training ourselves to do so,” he said.

Dr Allan Pamba, a public health specialist and the current Nairobi Hospital Chief Executive Officer, said that Kenyans simply need to follow the government directive to flatten the curve.

He explained that the virus has an incubation period of no less than five days, which starts from the time a person gets infected to the time they show symptoms.

He said that people ignore the measures during this period, go on with life as usual and end up infecting a large number of the population.

Some countries like Italy have gone into lock-down after realising that there is no compliance in the population.

Dr Pamba said that the tragedy of Italy now stands as a warning to Kenya and the rest of the world.

By Daily Nation

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