Kenya

The rising number of COVID-19 positive cases in Kenya has caused jitters amid concern over disregard for rules meant to contain the disease.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health indicated that the country had 14,168 COVID-19 positive cases and 250 fatalities by Tuesday, as senior officials warned that the spike posed an enormous threat to the country’s public health system.

Rashid Aman, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health said at a briefing on Monday that the country was staring at a precarious future amid an unprecedented spike in coronavirus infections and fatalities.

“We are concerned by the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country and expect to hit the peak sometimes in late August,” said Aman.

“The lifting of containment measures has seen a sudden spike and that is a cause for worry from a public health standpoint. We urge Kenyans to adhere to guidelines meant to contain the pandemic,” he added.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on July 6 lifted a ban on cessation of movements into and out of the capital Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa that were deemed COVID-19 hotspots.

Kenyatta urged citizens to take personal responsibility to curb the spread of the virus and vowed to reimpose lockdowns and other containment measures if it spreads unabated.

“In the next 21 days, we shall study patterns of interactions and the spread of the disease. Any trends that signal to worsen of the pandemic, we will have no choice but to return to the lockdown,” said Kenyatta.

Kenya has witnessed an unprecedented spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in a fortnight since the lifting of a lockdown in Nairobi and Mombasa as concern mounted that flouting of containment rules could be behind the gloomy scenario.

Citizens had started flocking entertainment joints past the curfew hours where they hardly wear masks or observe physical distancing.

The youth from Nairobi’s upmarket suburbs have also been accused of being the missing link in the fight against the pandemic as they host house parties where no containment measures are observed.

A lawmaker from Nairobi was arrested in the wee hours of July 17 after police found him taking alcoholic drinks with a group of supporters contrary to public health guidelines on curbing the spread of COVID-19.

The male lawmaker later resigned from a Senate committee on fighting the pandemic as pressure mounted on elected leaders to obey regulations.

Mutahi Kagwe, cabinet secretary for health said the ban on political or social gatherings remained in force to contain the spread of coronavirus amid reopening of the country’s economy.

“The public is advised against attending political or social gatherings whose ban remains in place as the country tightens measures to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Kagwe said at a briefing in the eastern Kenyan county of Embu on July 18.

He warned the political class against flouting anti-COVID-19 rules through the holding of public rallies adding that the country was staring at a bleak future as community transmission of the virus escalated.

He said the government is banking on citizens’ responsibility to help contain a pandemic that had devastated livelihoods since mid-March when the first case was reported in the country. Enditem

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