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Kenya Tightens Restrictions as Covid-19 Positive Cases Surge 

Kenya had just emerged from a moderate second wave of Covid-19 infections to a more devastating third wave.

Health CAS Dr. Rashid Aman at the Kenya Medical Research Institute

Coronavirus positive cases hit new daily highs in Kenya with President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday announcing new measures to halt increasing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

According to the President, “It is most unfortunate that we have experienced a reversal  38 days later.”

If COVID bed occupancy had gone down by 60%, giving us comfort to re-open in September, the occupancy has now gone up by 140% during the 38 days of easing COVID measures.

According to the Head of State, the COVID positivity rate had shot up from 4% in September to an average of 16% in October 4 times what the rate was in September.

“In fact, October has been recorded as the most tragic month in our fight against COVID. Now we are staring at a new wave of this pandemic. And the question is, where did we go wrong? What could we have done differently? said Kenyatta.

New measures that took effect Wednesday include an extension of the country’s nightly curfew to Jan. 3 as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 but revised the dusk-to-dawn timings from 10 pm- 4 am effective.

The president also directed that the sale of alcohol by bars and restaurants will continue but noted that the businesses must be closed by 9 pm.

Kenyatta also directed the suspension of all political rallies for 60 days and asked senior government officials to work virtually. “Anyone wishing to hold such meetings should do so in town halls and must observe all COVID protocols, including limiting the attendees to one-third seating capacity of the hall.”

“We leaders have failed to lead by example. We attend rallies without face masks. The government shall not hesitate to take action against anyone found flouting the guidelines,” he said.

Kenya Records 1,494 COVID-19 Cases

The new measures were announced on the backdrop of 1,494 positive coronavirus cases being recorded, the highest on a single day by the Ministry of Health from 8,839 samples tested since Tuesday. It raised the countries cumulative cases to 58,587.

“Currently, there are 1,313 patients admitted in various health countrywide, while 5,005 are on Home-based isolation and care. 57 patients are in the ICU, 25 of whom are on ventilatory support and 27 on supplemental oxygen. Another 95 patients are separately on supplementary oxygen of whom 77 are in general wards, while 18 are in the High Dependency Unit,” Mutahi Kagwe the Health CS stated.

12 more patients succumbed to the virus raising the total number of fatalities in the country to 1, 051 since April.

Dr. Ahmed Kalebi, Pathologist and Managing Director Lancet Group of Laboratories East Africa said “The second wave is hitting harder.”

“Last week of October (34 weeks into Covid-19) saw the highest number of confirmed positive cases, the highest weekly positivity rate and the highest number of Covid-19 deaths recorded in Kenya since the pandemic hit in March.”

The Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya during the sixth extraordinary session of the national and county governments co-ordinating summit at State House called for a resumption of all containment protocols saying Covid-19 is “out of control”.

“The political class has continued to be the super spreaders of this virus. This has led to an escalation of Covid-19 cases and the collapse of contact tracing efforts,” he said.

“It is actually an acute crisis. Many patients are losing the battle en route to Nairobi to seek treatment,” he added.

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