Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe gives an update on the Covid-19 disease in Kenya at Afya House in Nairobi on March 28, 2020. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya’s coronavirus cases have risen by 8, with the total now standing at 50 that have been confirmed, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said on Monday.

He noted that the virus is now being spread through community transmission.

This, the CS says, means the disease is no longer being imported from outside but is here with us.

TESTING

Of the confirmed cases, one was from a sample drawn from the Aga Khan Hospital, he said.

“There are other 14 cases who are in quarantine who are undergoing more tests. I will reveal the outcome tomorrow,” he said.

He said mass testing had embarked on 2,050 people under mandatory quarantined, with 172 samples from this group tested in last 24 hours.

Mr Kagwe said that there were 20,000 testing kits in Kenya and that the country is still receiving more.

“We validate them to ascertain their efficacy,” he said.

“DON’T TRAVEL UPCOUNTRY”

Nairobi residents have also been urged not to travel upcountry as they risk transmitting the disease to rural residents, many of who are elderly.

Those who have travelled should maintain social distance, CS Kagwe said.

WORST CASE SCENARIO

The government has also painted a grim picture of what to expect in the next month if the spread of the virus is not tamed.

Ministry of Health Director General Dr Patrick Amoth said their preliminary modelling data showed that coronavirus cases by mid-April will hit 5,000, and rise to 10,000 by end of April in the absence of drastic intervention.

“However, in view of the recent directives on social distancing, travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine as well as other public health measures, there may be a delay in reaching the first 1,000 cases,” he said at the Monday briefing.

FOCUS ON BODA BODAS

In today’s update, Mr Kagwe also turned the spotlight to boda boda riders, a popular form of transport in Kenya’s rural and urban areas.

He noted that new measures will be imposed on the sector, while urging them to only carry one passenger and wear masks.

“Government will distribute masks across the country. We are doing this to protect boda bodas,” he said, adding that it is a measure for them to remain in business.

EMPLOYERS

The State has also cautioned employers against denying their staff wages due to the ongoing crisis over the fewer hours worked.

He also urged businesses to release their employees by 4 pm in order to beat the 7 pm curfew.

“Please do not withhold people’s salaries and wages…4 pm departure does not mean you reduce people’s salaries. Some of the people have helped employers for many years, it is time also for employers to support them…It is a time for sacrifice,” CS Kagwe said.

Additional reporting by Lynette Mukami

By Daily Nation

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