Government roots for community policing to Komesha Corona Nairobi, Sunday April 19, 2020

The government will activate community policing to enhance community participation in the fight against coronavirus disease. 

During today’s media update on coronavirus, the Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr. Mercy Mwangangi said the community policing will use Nyumba Kumi initiative, community health workers, public health officers, multi-agency teams at road blocks besides utilizing technology in tracking and surveillance of post curfew congregations.

“The government will continue to enhance its capacity for combating Coronavirus and is making good leaps in expanding and spreading testing capabilities across the country. Moi Teaching & Referral Hospital in Eldoret and Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), here in Nairobi are now testing for COVID-19 disease with the MTRC tests covering a scope of 22 Counties,” she noted.

This is a big step for the government since the samples had to be transported to far away testing centers. She reported that the two facilities have been conducting tests in the last few days and are now complementing the efforts of the existing centres.

The CAS also issued a warning to those who are  breaking the curfew rules, arguing that they will be treated as suspected cases, and put in quarantined for a period of 14 days.

She also announced that the Government, will carry out screening of truck drivers entering and operating in Kenya at roadblocks by a combined team of health and security personnel and revealed  that unscrupulous persons recycling face masks, after collecting them from bins and selling them to unsuspecting Kenyans will be dealt with. “This is not only unacceptable but it is criminal and we will crack the whip on anyone found endangering the lives of fellow Kenyans for selfish gains ,’ she noted and and advised Kenyans to undertake a basic due diligence on the face masks they are buying so that they do not fall victims.

She directed the National Police Service, Kenya Bureau of Standards, National Environment and Management Authority (NEMA) and other relevant Government agencies to take action on such characters.

The wines and spirits that have now been converted into drinking joints were also put on notice. “This  facilities are licensed as take-aways only. Anyone found drinking at a Wines and Spirits shop will be arrested and the business closed down,” she warned. 

She also disclosed that the Ministry of Health is partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries & Cooperatives to finalize specific guidelines to embed nutrition security in the COVID-19 national response. These includes the food preservation guidelines, kitchen gardens toolkits, recipes for healthy snacks and guidelines to maintain healthy diets among others.

In the meantime  the CAS disclosed that the government has tested 1,330 samples out of which, 8 people tested positive for Coronavirus disease bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 270

The seven are Kenyans and one is a foreign national. None had a history of travel and three of them emanated from quarantine centers. Five  were picked by the Ministry surveillance teams from various parts of the country, 4 are from Mombasa, three from Nairobi and one from Kajiado County aged between 17 and 65 years of age.

“I am glad to announce that we have seven other discharges today taking the number of recoveries to 67. This is indeed very encouraging, and we hope many more will recover.  Sadly, we have lost two more patients thus raising the total number of deaths to 14,” Dr. Mwangangi said .

Besides Nairobi the CAS disclosed that the situation in Mombasa is not any better  and that currently Nyali is leading with 11 cases followed by Mvita which has 7 cases, Kisauni 7 cases and Changmwe 2. Others are Bamburi which has reported  2, Beach Road 1, Mamba Village (1), Mogadishu (1), Mkomani-Tamarind (1), Maweni-Kongowea (1), Twiga Road (1) and  Umoja (1).

So far a  total of 2,661 contacts have been monitored, out of which 2,047 have been discharged. 614 contacts are being followed at the moment. A total of 13,239 samples have been tested so far.

The CAS reminded those in villages to continue keeping social distance, washing hands often with soap and running water, wearing  face masks,  observing basic hygiene and stay at home.

The Cabinet Secretary for Trade and Industry Dr. Betty Maina reported that the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has outlined specifications standards for  for materials of production of mask. “ To date we have certified 9 government intuitions  for manufacture of  PPEs and 34 private who together can be able to produce 1.5 million face masks made of cloth each day,”she said.  

The CS further said that work is in progress in  designing and approval of  ventilators to 5 institutions namely Toyota Kenya, Kenyatta University,  Dedan Kimathi University, Numerical Machine Complex and Kenya Association of Manufacturer Automotive sector.

There is local capacity of PPEs and face mask and we have 5 certified companies that have already  received orders from the Ministry of Health to be able to deliver, she said.

However, she noted that the challenge of the Mass Testing  is still looming and called upon the local industries who can be able to manufacture the commodities that can support the mass testing,“The ones that are there have been imported, we have samples in the office and at the MOH and are calling upon local industry to look at the samples available for them to be able to undertake the production locally,” CS said.

Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof. George Magoha said no exams have been postponed and that the ministry and government is working in a methodical way to ensure  all is well. “Nobody is postponing the exams and to the best of government ability, children are getting online learning, parents are apprehensive but should also be fair to themselves. We refuse to be guided by fear mongers, we are optimistic,” he said noting that in the course of the next week they will give the scenarios that they have come up on matters education.

According to the government analysis 56 percent of all confirmed cases were imported, and only 44 percent have been locally transmitted. So far, it has succeeded to contain the imports and in the last few days, very few cases are emanating from our original quarantine centers and it is now the local transmissions that are worrying.