Covid-19: Kenya closes Tanzania, Somalia borders


By ANGELA OKETCH  
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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday ordered the closure of borders with Tanzania and Somalia as cross-border Covid-19 infections continued to rise.

The President additionally prolonged the restrictions on motion out and in of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Mandera counties by 21 days over fears of cross-county infections.

The closure of the borders, President Kenyatta mentioned, was necessitated by a rise within the variety of “imported” Covid-19 circumstances.

“Prior to now one week, now we have witnessed elevated imported circumstances amongst people crossing into the nation by means of our borders. These areas have turn into of grave concern,” mentioned President Kenyatta.

The restrictions, nonetheless, exempt cargo vehicles, however their drivers should endure obligatory Covid-19 checks and be declared adverse earlier than being allowed by means of the border posts.

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The President’s sixth handle on the Covid-19 pandemic got here because the nation registered 49 new circumstances, bringing the nationwide tally to 830.

That is the very best variety of new circumstances reported in a day since March 13, when the nation recorded its first Covid-19 case.

5 extra folks succumbed to the virus, elevating the demise tally to 50.

President Kenyatta mentioned among the many constructive circumstances registered this week, 43 individuals had crossed the borders from Somalia and Tanzania.

The circumstances are distributed as follows: Wajir (14), Isebania (10), Namanga (16), Lungalunga (2) and Loitokitok (1). The 43 circumstances, he mentioned, signify a couple of quarter of the 166 confirmed infections this week.

Final week, the Ministry of Well being labeled Namanga, Kenya’s border city with Tanzania, as a Covid-19 high-risk space after a surge in numbers.

This compelled Kenya to arrange a cell testing level on the border to check truck drivers.

The President revealed that 78 truck drivers who’re overseas nationals examined constructive for Covid-19 at completely different border crossings and have been denied entry.

“If we had not undertaken this intervention, the imported circumstances by means of our borders would have at this time accounted for greater than 50 per cent of the week’s infections,” he mentioned.

Inside the nation, President Kenyatta famous that infections had unfold to 22 of the 47 counties.

“These numbers and the unfold of infections clearly point out that if no motion is taken, all of the positive factors already achieved in combating this pandemic will undoubtedly be misplaced,” he mentioned from State Home, Nairobi.

He famous a disturbing pattern the place near 30 per cent of the recorded deaths occurred at residence.

On a constructive be aware, the President introduced that greater than 300 folks had been discharged from varied well being amenities after full restoration.

However there are nonetheless 481 sufferers present process therapy in isolation centres throughout the nation.

“If we had not taken powerful steps, calculations present that there can be many 1000’s of infections, and certainly many extra fatalities. It’s, nonetheless, clear now we have not delivered a closing blow to this enemy that has invaded our nation and the world at giant,” he mentioned.

The Head of State counseled well being staff for his or her dedication within the battle in opposition to the pandemic. He additionally thanked different devoted and expert Kenyans who’re working to maintain infections low.

“I additionally need to thank the tens of thousands and thousands of Kenyans who’re adhering to the well being, hygiene, and social distancing measures,” he added.

Globally, the virus has claimed greater than 300,000 lives, whereas 4.7 million folks have been contaminated.

To accentuate the battle in opposition to the virus, the President additionally prolonged the nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew by one other 21 days till June 6.

“Despite the fact that the measures we’re setting up are inconvenient to all of us, the far worse end result is for this pandemic to develop uncontrolled. The cities and international locations the place it has raged uncontrolled have suffered close to financial collapse as a result of terror and paralysis it causes,” he mentioned.

He added: “Economies far bigger than ours have been severely affected.”

However the curfew extension didn’t go down properly with some folks, particularly these within the casual settlements, who have been anticipating that the restrictions can be lifted.

With the restrictions, a large decline in productiveness has come to bear closely on the financial system and households. Companies are struggling and the casual sector, which helps the majority of the inhabitants, is difficult hit.

With the extra 21 days, that is actually going to get more durable.

Medical medical doctors faulted the choice to limit motion, saying that it’s not primarily based on any well being or scientific consideration.

Kenya Medical Affiliation (KMA) leaders mentioned the restriction would have entailed correct group entry, huge testing inside these areas, and growth of a technique for holding the an infection successfully.

Led by their president, Dr Jacqueline Kitulu, the KMA Covid-19 Response Advisory Committee famous that thus far, the quantity of testing within the restricted areas and in the remainder of the nation has remained considerably beneath what is predicted for a rustic of our dimension and means.

“On account of this restricted testing, we’re working at midnight, and we at the moment know neither the actual extent of the pandemic on this nation, nor the trajectory of its unfold, therefore it’s obscure the rationale for the motion restrictions,” Dr Kitulu mentioned.

She added: “Within the absence of knowledge, and with the above standards having not been met, we contemplate any discussions on motion restrictions and reopening sectors of the financial system to be untimely and doubtlessly disastrous.”

The Head of State mentioned he was conscious of nationwide and international stress for alleviating measures in opposition to this illness and getting again to regular.

“Certainly, the Nationwide Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus has taken an in depth have a look at the reopening processes globally. However the committee has established international locations that embody Singapore, Germany and Ghana that did extraordinarily properly initially, eased the containment measures after which suffered harmful spikes in new charges of infections,” mentioned the President.

He mentioned the federal government will proceed to take each measure to guard the lives of Kenyans from this pandemic and to plan for the restoration of the financial system.

“The entire world is strolling by means of the valley of the shadow of demise. Nonetheless, I do know that the firmness of our resolve as a nation, the constancy of every and everybody in protecting the enemy at bay, and God’s enduring Grace, will see us into the sunshine,” he added.





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