With a lockdown looming in Kenya over the increasing cases of the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, the disease has brought a bag of mixed goodies to Kenyans.
For the many jobless Kenyans, there are opportunities with the hard times that are on us but there are also the very real risks of falling sick and even dying in the line of duty.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has announced that from the arising from the trends, the government is considering announcing stiffer measures to deal with the disease.
“But as of now, I urge you to take extreme precautionary measures wherever you are, by observing the highest standard of hygiene, social distancing, as well as any other measures the Government has announced to you,” the CS said on Thursday.
He added, “I want to reiterate that we are discouraging mass movement of people staying in Nairobi from travelling upcountry. The dangers of this are real. It is very easy to transfer the virus to those living up country especially the elderly, like it has happened in Italy.”
To further mitigate the risks, Kagwe extended a previous directive on boda bodas to cover tuk tuk operators.
“As I directed earlier this week, that all boda boda riders and their passengers must wear protective masks, I further direct that all tuk tuk drivers and their passengers to adhere to this directive as well.”
On Wednesday, the CS said that there were not enough health workers necessitating the need to hire more.
“As you are all aware, we do not have enough healthcare workers in our facilities, and God forbid if the situation gets out of hand then it would likely stretch our healthcare system if no measures are put in place. We are in the process of hiring 1000 health workers to boost our capacity,” he said.
While the covid-19 coronavirus has created opportunities in the healthcare sector directly, other sectors will also be on call during the period until such a time as the crisis has levelled out.
Manufacturers in the EPZ will be among those who have been extended a lifeline buy the outbreak.
“We are scaling up acquisition of PPEs to our health care facilities countrywide. However, following the outbreak of the disease worldwide there has been a global shortage. The government has however resolved to get the same through our local manufacturers. For instance, we are in the process of engaging the EPZ to manufacture face masks, suits to be distributed countrywide. In the same vein we are also looking at manufacturing of protective suits for our health care workers,” Kagwe added.
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He said that as per the ministry’s modeling, they had already quantified the needs of the PPEs and come up with allocation criteria in our critical clinics.
For the next one week, Kagwe said that the Port Health Teams have embarked on disinfecting the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The exercise, he said, will be extended to all other airports.
On his appeal to Kenyans to minimize movements, Kagwe said, “It is important to note that this virus does not move by itself. It is moved by you and I. we must change our behaviour and attitude if we have to cut the transmission of the virus.”
So far Kenya has 110 confirmed covid-19 cases and three deaths.