The June-August cold season is responsible for a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases in Kenya that reached 22,597 on Monday after 544 people tested positive to the disease.
Rashid Aman, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Health, said that chilly weather has a direct link to rapid transmission of coronavirus hence undermining efforts to contain other viral respiratory ailments.
“The cold season poses various challenges for our people including children and the aged, particularly during this period of COVID-19 pandemic,” Aman said at a briefing in Nairobi.
He said that extreme cold and hot temperatures have been associated with higher morbidity among people who contract the coronavirus.
Kenya witnessed a doubling of COVID-19 infections in July when the cold season was at its peak and the government relaxed containment measures like lockdowns in the hotspots.
“During this cold season, the country has continued to witness an upsurge in COVID-19 cases and being an infectious airborne condition, there are concerns of its rise during this period,” said Aman.
He urged people living with chronic respiratory diseases to be more vigilant amid risk of contracting the coronavirus during this cold season.
“I would like to appeal to our people to take extra precautions during this cold season by ensuring they put in place measures that will not expose them to infections,” said Aman.
He said that wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, hand hygiene and physical exercises is key to strengthen defences against COVID-19 during this cold season.
Aman spoke against a backdrop of lingering concern that a spike in COVID-19 cases and fatalities could overwhelm Kenya’s health care infrastructure.
Kenya’s COVID-19 deaths hit 382 on Monday, after 13 people including a 32-year-old nurse succumbed to the disease.
So far, eight healthcare workers in Kenya have died of COVID-19 related complications while the youth with no pre-existing medical condition have also succumbed to the disease.