Meru, Garissa, Taita Taveta report their first Covid-19 cases

CAS Rashid Aman during past briefing (Photo/Courtesy)

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Kenya edged closer to the 1000th threshold on Monday rising by 25 to take the national tally to 912, the Health Ministry said.

Of these, 23 cases of the new cases are Kenyans while two are Somali nationals, a majority of them truck drivers. And in a situation mirrored globally, more men than women caught the virus in the 1,139 samples that were tested in the past 24 hours.

Health CAS Rashid Aman said 23 of the new cases were male and two others female.

The new patients are aged between 22 and 50 years. On the distribution of the cases, Taita Taveta, Garissa and Meru reported their first cases, pointing to a further spread of the virus to outpost regions.

Aman announced that the number of recoveries also grew after 22 people were discharged from isolation facilities. Kenya now has 336 recoveries. He added that no patient died in the past 24 hours.

“There were also 53 truck drivers who were tested and were positive at the various entry points at the Kenya-Tanzania border. They include 51 Tanzanians and two Burundians. All were referred back to Tanzania,” Aman said.

Aman said plans were underway to set up a laboratory in Namanga to arrest the exponential threat of the virus coming from Tanzania. “We have received a mobile laboratory through the East African Community project and the lab should be commissioned very soon,” he said.

This is expected to lower the turnaround time of the tests and clear the backlog of drivers, who in some cases wait for up to four days to get results.

On motorists in private vehicles being arrested for not having face masks, Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said the police were overstepping their mandate.

He said the police were “supposed to encourage” the motorists to have the masks on as they step out into the public as per State directives.

“We understand that a private vehicle is not necessarily a public place but in order for us to cement that culture, we must find a way by which we can be able to achieve compliance. What the policemen normally do is normally to encourage people in their private vehicles to have their masks on, so that you don’t leave the vehicle with the mask on,” he said.

Oguna went on: “If compliance was not encouraged, the likelihood of leaving the mask in the car is very high.”