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COVID-19: Kenya suspends passenger flights to India

The second wave of infections has seen at least 300,000 people test positive and over 3,000 deaths each day for the past week, overwhelming Indian health facilities and crematoriums.

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Patients in an ambulance wait to enter a COVID-19 hospital for treatment in Ahmedabad, India, on Monday. Photo/Reuters

The government has suspended passenger flights between Kenya and India citing COVID-19 cases and the “double mutant” virus in the Asian country.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the suspension will take effect from Saturday midnight for the next 14 days, pending review by the government.

All passengers arriving from India will be subjected to rapid antigen testing upon arrival and at the port of entry and observe a 14 day quarantine period.

“Those who test positive will be put into mandatory quarantine in specified areas at their own cost,” he said at Moi County Referral Hospital in Voi, Taita Taveta County.

However, cargo flights from India will remain in operation subject to the laid down guidelines under the laid down transport protocols. India is one of Kenya’s main trading partners.

The CS advised Kenyans planning to seek treatment in India to work for alternatives following the health crisis in India as the Kenyan government has improved local health services considerably.

“India’s capacity is overwhelmed. People cannot even get to the hospital for treatment. It is baffling for a Kenyan to get into a flight to head to India for treatment,” he said.

The second wave of infections has seen at least 300,000 people test positive and over 3,000 deaths each day for the past week, overwhelming Indian health facilities and crematoriums.

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Governor Lee: Travelers from Western, Nyanza counties to test, self-isolate to curb COVID-19 spread

Since March 30, 2020, when the first case was reported in Nakuru County, a total of 8610 COVID-19 confirmed cases and 275 deaths have been reported.

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People travelling to Nakuru from Western Kenya and Nyanza counties have been advised to self-isolate and take a COVID-19 test in a measure to curb the virus spread.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui in a notice said the COVID-19 positivity rate in Busia, Vihiga, Kisii, Nyamira, Kakamega, Bungoma, Kericho, Bomet, Trans Nzoia, Kisumu, Siaya, Homa-Bay and Migori counties is worrisome.

“At 20.5 per cent and rising, we have good reason to consider the trend as ‘a crisis in the making,” he stated adding that the more virulent Indian variant is worsening situations.

He said his administration was monitoring the situation with great caution and shall not hesitate to take up preemptive measures to protect residents and visitors.

In the precautionary statement based on the case situation, the Governor said it will be necessary to reduce travel to the highlighted region to bare necessity.

On average, Nakuru County has an attack rate of 229/100,000 population. This means in every 100,000 people sampled, 229 are highly likely to be infected with COVID-19.

Since March 30, 2020, when the first case was reported in Nakuru County, a total of 8610 COVID-19 confirmed cases and 275 deaths have been reported.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Shocker: Less than 1% of adult population vaccinated

On March 03, Kenya received just over one million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as part of the COVAX Facility.

Kenya is set to receive 24 million doses through the COVAX Facility.

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Shockingly, only less than one per cent of the adult population in the country has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the Ministry of Health, a total of 1,005,509 vaccines have so far been administered across the country.

“Of these, the total first doses are 978,127 while the total 2nd doses are 27,382,” MoH explained in its daily briefing.

On March 03, Kenya received just over one million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as part of the COVAX Facility.

Kenya is set to receive 24 million doses through the COVAX Facility.

Frontline healthcare workers, teachers, police and military as the priority groups were targeted during round one of the inoculations.

However, later, the Government included those aged 58 years and above in this priority category.

The low vaccine uptake has been blamed on efficacy scepticism but the demand spiked after President Uhuru Kenyatta was vaccinated.

Kenya averagely administers about 1,791 doses each day. At that rate, it will take a further 5,870 days to administer enough doses for another 10 per cent of the population.

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US affirms red alert on Kenya over high COVID-19 cases

As of yesterday, Kenyan had recorded a total of 160,904 COVID-19 confirmed positive cases from 1,688,106 cumulative tests since the pandemic hit the country last year.

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The US Embassy in Kenya at Gigiri, Nairobi.

The United States of America has reiterated its travel advisory against Kenya issued on April 20 over the surge in COVID-19 cases, days after President Uhuru Kenyatta eased COVID-19 containment measures imposed last month.

The President in his Labor Day address lifted the ban on the movement by road, air, and rail into and out of the five counties; Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu, and Nakuru.

He also allowed for the reopening of bars, restaurants and religious services. Also, schools will be allowed to reopen in line with the Ministry of Education calendar.

And now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Kenya due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.

The US Embassy in Kenya says it is unable to secure a bed or other medical care for USA citizens at private or public hospitals, nor can it provide medical care for private citizens.

“If you must travel to Kenya at this time, you should have travel insurance that includes coverage for an air ambulance evacuation in the event you have symptomatic COVID-19,” the US Embassy in Kenya advised.

The Embassy further advised its citizens that they cannot travel on a commercial airline out of Kenya if they are acutely ill with COVID-19 and advised them to maintain strict COVID-19 mitigation measures.

As of yesterday, Kenyan had recorded a total of 160,904 COVID-19 confirmed positive cases from 1,688,106 cumulative tests since the pandemic hit the country last year.

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