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Extend lock down, Kagwe tells Uhuru


The Ministry of Health has advised President Uhuru Kenyatta not to reopen the economy, citing lack of preparedness, even as the current containment measures are set to lapse on July 6.

Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the country risks an upsurge of new Covid-19 infections as a majority of the counties lag in required controls.

President Kenyatta, based on the ministry’s counsel, ruled out automatic reopening of the country’s economy.

“County readiness to respond to new imported cases of infection will largely determine our national readiness to re-open the country as a whole,” President Kenyatta said.

“I say this because the nation is the sum total of all the 47 counties. If the counties have met the necessary thresholds, then the nation will be ready to re-open,” he said during the virtual summit.

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Kenya on Thursday reported 178 new cases against the backdrop of large-scale community transmission.

The new cases represent 4.5 percent of the 3,918 tested bringing the total Covid-19 caseload to 5,384. They were announced Thursday as the ministry launched a teleconference centre for health workers at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

Early this month, President Kenyatta extended the countrywide curfew starting at 9pm as well as the cessation of movement in Nairobi, counties of Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa and Mandera to July 6. The devolved units were required to roll out minimum Covid-19 response measures before re-opening after one month.

According to the progress report presented to Mr Kenyatta Thursday by the Council of Governors chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya, counties have only attained a total of 6,898 isolation beds against the national target of 30,500.

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Only 12 counties had met the 300 per county isolation beds threshold while 34 others were on course to meet the target within the month.

Other 36 counties are reported to have a cumulative 343 ICU beds while 28 of them have 337 ventilators.

On talent, the counties reported that a total of 16,914 health personnel had been trained in Covid-19 management, among them 59,449 community health volunteers.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said the call centre will ensure health workers get psycho-social support, one of the key demands by the Covid-19 frontline workers.

This story first appeared in the Business Daily

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