Kenya heightens vigilance amid COVID-19 variant risk

People visit Mbagathi County Hospital for COVID-19 vaccination in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, March 22, 2021. (Xinhua/Allan Mutiso)

Kenya’s Ministry of Health said on Friday that surveillance at the border with Uganda has been intensified amid reports of a COVID-19 variant B1617 strain.

Mutahi Kagwe, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Health said the government had ramped up personnel and diagnostic tools at the Ugandan border and other ports of entry to help detect and report the more infectious variant promptly.

“The government would like to assure Kenyans that our borders are well secured by our medical teams,” Kagwe said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

“We continue to monitor the situation on this virus and emerging issues will be communicated to the public as and when it arises,” he added.

Kagwe ruled out the presence of coronavirus strain inside the Kenyan territory amid concerns from the public already reeling from the aftermath of a third wave of infection that commenced in mid-March.

“There have been concerns from a section of Kenyans concerning the situation in India. As for now, there is no cause for worry,” said Kagwe.

Uganda’s Ministry of Health on Thursday said it had detected the B1617 strain from a citizen who had returned from a visit to India.

Kenya on Wednesday banned passenger flights from India for the next two weeks to minimize the risk of the spread of the coronavirus strain from the world’s second most populous nation. Enditem

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