Kenya continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic with cases steadily rising each day. Government have locked down a handful of counties including the capital Nairobi and imposed a night-time curfew as part of containment efforts.
This rolling page will continue to give updates on major occurrences as relates to the East African country. You can follow Kenya’s March – April 2020 COVID-19 updates on our earlier page.
Kenya as of May 10 was the fourth most impacted country in the East / Horn of Africa region only behind Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia. Government also rolled out mass testing in virus hot spots, borders remain shut and a ban on public gatherings continues.
Major topics covered below include:
- May 20: cases hit 963, foreigners deported
- May 16: 830 cases, TZ, Somali borders shut
- May 14: Cases hit 758, focus turns to Kenya-Tanzania border town
- May 12: 715 cases, border crossings becoming flash point
- May 11: Cases reach 700, mass prisoner release
- May 10: 649 cases, Raila worries about Magufuli
- May 8: May 8: Govt to foot quarantine bills, cases at 607
- May 7: 582 cases, lockdown in Eastleigh, Mombasa City
- May 5: KQ’s UK repatriation flight returns
- May 4: Cases hit 535, govt decries abuse of relaxed measures
- May 3: KQ repatriation flight, Nairobi fumigation
- May 2: Case count at 435, mass testing starts
- May 1: Case count hits 411, Uhuru vows transparency
May 20: 963 cases, foreigners deported
Kenyan officials have been busy at border points with neighbouring Tanzania – areas that have been declared virus hot spots days ago. 182 foreigners who tried to enter the country were deported after testing positive for coronavirus.
Of the cases, 126 tested positive in the main border crossing of Namanga. The others were diagnosed in four other border points. The nationalities of the foreigners were not disclosed.
President Kenyatta last weekend shut borders with Tanzania and Somalia citing an increase in cross-border infections. Cargo vehicles were exempted, but drivers have to be tested for coronavirus at border points.
“We can not allow people from outside Kenya to come in without a Covid-19 free certificate, just like we are not allowing Kenyan drivers to leave without a certificate,” Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe told a media briefing on Tuesday.
Total confirmed cases = 963 (new cases = 51)
Total recoveries = 358
Total deaths = 50
Active cases = 555
May 16: 830 cases, TZ, Somali borders shut
Total confirmed cases = 830 (new cases = 49)
Total recoveries = 301
Total deaths = 50 (5 new)
Active cases = 481
Kenya’s case count reached 830 as pf today President Uhuru Kenyatta announced in an address today. The dusk to dawn curfew in place has also been extended by a further 21 days.
A major decision announced also included the closure of frontiers with Tanzania and Somalia.
There will be cessation of movement of persons and passengers into and out through Kenya-Tanzania, & Kenya-Somalia border except for cargo, beginning midnight,” he said.
The national curfew and cessation of movements in the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Mandera to continue till 6th June 2020, he added.
The border closure especially relative to Tanzania comes days after Kenya declared the border town of Namanga a high-risk area.
May 14: Cases hit 758, focus turns to borders
Total confirmed cases = 758 (new cases = 21)
Total recoveries = 284
Total deaths = 42
Samples tested over 24-hours = 1,486
Total samples tested = 36,918
Government reports that a new area of focus in the fight against the virus are the frontiers. “Our borders are now the key areas of focus particularly Namanga,” CAS Dr. Mercy Mwangangi told reporters during today’s briefing.
Kenya has on Wednesday declared the border town with Tanzania as a high-risk area. Namanga is a town divided by the Tanzania-Kenya border. It is in Longido District, Tanzania and Kajiado County, Kenya. It is around 110 kilometers from Arusha, Tanzania.
Zambia has also recently shut its common trade border with Tanzania after the town of Nakonde recorded a spike in cases. It is currently having more cases than the capital Lusaka.
May 12: 15 new cases, border crossing concerns
“We are upscaling security on border points and testing truck drivers to contain cross border infections,” CS Dr. Rashid Aman told the press today as he gave case statistics on the coronavirus pandemic.
He added that two other individuals from Tanzania at the Isebania border also tested positive and were referred back to Tanzania. “We are upscaling security on border points and testing truck drivers to contain cross border infections.”
With the case count now at 715, authorities reported that 8 patients had been discharges from hospital today bringing to 259 the total number of recoveries from COVID-19.
The new infections comprised 14 Kenyans and a Rwandese. Seven of the cases were in Mombasa, three in Migori and two in Wajir. Nairobi, Machakos and Kiambu recorded a case each. Overall 978 samples were tested.
“We are saddened to announce the death of 3 patients in Mombasa. Two of them died at home, while the 3rd one in hospital, bringing to 36 the total number of those who have succumbed to the disease,” the CS added.
On the regional front, President Kenyatta joined a virtual meeting of East African Community Heads of State held today under the chairmanship of Rwanda’s Paul Kagame.
Another regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD; also donated supplies to Kenya as part of efforts to help combat the virus spread.
May 11: 700 cases, mass prisoner release
In the last 24 hours, Kenya tested 841 samples, out of which twenty eight (28) people tested positive for corona virus. This brings the total number of those who have tested positive to 700. Recoveries are at 251 with 33 deaths.
Ten of the cases were from Mombasa county, nine from Kajiado, seven from Nairobi and two from Wajir. Of note is the Kajiado cases which involved Kenyan truck drivers who were tested at Namanga border point.
Authorities disclosed that so far 19 out of 47 counties have reported positive cases adding that cntact tracing of positive cases is ongoing as well as targeted testing in high risk areas.
Meanwhile there was a mass prisoner release that saw 7,000 inmates freed as part of efforts to decongest the prisons and to curb spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i has told Senators that two cases were detected in a Nairobi prison. The health ministry has started conducting mass testing in prisons across the country, the local Citizen TV reports
The government has restricted movement in and out the Nairobi and the second biggest city of Mombasa, as well as two other counties in the coastal region.
It has also imposed a total lockdown in two areas identified as virus hot spots – one in Nairobi and the other in Mombasa – for 15 days.
__Additional reporting from BBC_
649 cases, Raila worries about Magufuli
Ahead of tallies for May 10, Kenya’s close of day stats for May 9 stood at a total of 649 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 30 deaths and 207 recoveries.
Affairs in neighbouring Tanzania has however led to the raising of concerns by ex Prime Minister Raila Odinga who is quoted as saying President Magufuli next door was putting an entire region at risk with his handling of the virus.
Raila told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that Magufuli had refused to listen to even his fellow presidents on the need to backtrack on his approach to the virus.
He added that he had also failed to get in touch with the Tanzanian leader: “As nationalist, he needs to get information from fellow regional leaders… This is a regional issue.
“Our destiny is tied together. We do not want a situation where any of these countries will have to close their borders. That is why dialogue is the most important thing,” Raila said.
May 8: Govt to foot quarantine bills, cases at 607
Government on Thursday confirmed that it will foot bills of suspected persons quarantined for COVID-19.
The move is to encourage more people to avail themselves for testing as the country’s cases continue to rise day-on-day.
The issue of high fees associated with institutional quarantine has been topical for weeks in the country as people protested the move.
Since the start of the pandemic, many people have been stuck in isolation centres long after they were supposed to leave because they cannot afford the bills. Most government isolation facilities are charging at least $20 (£16) a day, the BBC reported.
Recently, a group of people quarantined in the capital Nairobi jumped the walls of the facility and escaped. President Kenyatta at the time vowed that all of them will be rearrested and quarantined duly.
Mass testing measures rolled out in the capital and coastal city of Mombasa has received low turnout much to the concern of authorities.
Kenya has as of May 7 confirmed a total of 607 coronavirus cases, including 29 deaths and 197 recoveries.
May 7: 582 cases, lockdown in Eastleigh, Mombasa City
The government on Wednesday announced a partial lockdown on two virus hotspots, Eastleigh in Nairobi and Mombasa City.
The 15-day measure took effect same day starting 7pm local time. Under the measure, there shall be no movement into and out of the places.
All public places in the two areas are to be shutdown. The cases tally for the two areas stood at 68 and 64 respectively.
Kenya case statistics as of May 7 stood at 582 cases, 190 recoveries and 26 deaths. Nairobi and Mombasa have been previously placed under similar measure being the most impacted counties.
May 5: KQ’s UK repatriation flight returns
Kenyan Airways on Tuesday arrived in Nairobi with 84 nationals aboard a special charter flight from the United Kingdom.
All passengers were checked into a government quarantine facility as per the terms of repatriation. A negative virus test result was a key requirement aside other boarding formalities from the UK.
Passengers aboard the UK return flight paid 54,000 shillings for the one-way trip. Each passenger occupied an entire row of three seats and had to wear a mask throughout the journey.
KQ is also expected to undertake similar flights from India and China in the coming days. The China flight is from Guangzhou, the epicentre of reported racist treatment of Africans last month. Kenyans were said to be among the most impacted.
Cases hit 535, govt decries abuse of relaxed measures
Kenya recorded a daily record of 45 new cases as the tally hit 535 today. Nine more patients were discharged bringing the total number of recoveries to 182.
In giving a breakdown of the new cases, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said: 30 are males and 15 females. It involved 44 Kenyans and a Somali.
The cases are from Nairobi (29), Mombasa (11), Wajir (5). Kagwe further disclosed that the five cases from Wajir County had recently travelled from Mogadishu in Somalia.
“There is a community spread in three key areas: Eastleigh, Kawangware and Old Town, Mombasa,” he said, insisting on the need for the Government to take serious action in those areas.
The 29 cases in Nairobi are from Eastleigh, a hotspot where mass testing started late last week.
- Eastleigh has 63 cases so far
- Mombasa’s Old Town has recorded 39 cases
- Kawangware has 24 cases so far
Some quotes from his press briefing were: “Today’s figure is a demonstration of just how far from normal things are.”
“There is not a single person who is immune to the virus, you are as likely to have it as I am. Therefore nobody should be stigmatized,” he added.
Mutahi decries abuse of relaxed measures
“It is unfortunate that some are going to hotels to order two sausages and two beers. Then they will go to another eatery and order another sausage plus two more bottles.
“The same person will go to another restaurant and order an orange as dessert…and add another beer. Honestly, what are we doing?” he wondered.
He further expressed concern over disobedience to curfew regulations. “If we call the police to arrest such people the media will report that we are harassing Kenyans. It is good that you (the media) are now reporting flaunting of the curfew rules,” he said.
May 4: Human rights issues, mass testing hurdles
Nelson Havi, President pf the Law Society of Kenya posted on Twitter:
1. The Emergency Response Committee has no power to mandate the IG to establish a containment camp for curfew violators. How can such a preposterous and unlawful idea even be contemplated in a constitutional democracy?
2. A while back, the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Health declared that anyone found outside during curfew hours will be deemed to have been infected with Covid-19 and quarantined. Many have been so quarantined notwithstanding the illegality of the declaration.
3. It is high time Kenyans started questioning the propriety of some of the measures taken in containing Covid-19. Parliament and the Judiciary are reluctant to intervene.
May 3: KQ repatriation flight, Nairobi fumigation
Kenya Airways has announced plans to repatriate citizens from three global cities. The national carrier announced the special repatriation flights via social media handles.
The first is from London (May 4th), Mumbai (May 7th) and finally from Guangzhou (May 8th). “Only Kenyan Citizens with COVID-19 test results will board,” KQ clarified.
According to a statement posted on their website, passengers will pay a one-way nonrefundable fare. All passengers must arrange their own COVID-19 tests and present proof of a negative result as part of formalities.
“All passengers must undergo a mandatory quarantine of 14-28 days at their own cost as per government of Kenya guidelines,” it added with respect to the London and Guangzhou flights.
In the case of the Mumbai flight, passengers are: “required to present a copy of covid-19 medical results at the check in counter and the results must be negative. (Test to be taken max 07 days prior to departure).
“During check in all guest must complete a declaration form in relation to 14 days mandatory quarantine in Nairobi,” the statement added.
Meanwhile mass fumigation exercises continue in parts of the capital Nairobi including the Kawangware area – a low income residential neighbourhood that has so far recorded 20 positive cases.
May 2: Case count at 435, mass testing starts
Kenya recorded 24 new coronavirus cases bringing the total tally to 435. 17 of the cases were recorded in Nairobi (10 in Eastleigh, 7 in Kawangware). Five in Mombasa. and two in Migori County.
A 51-year-old woman in Mombasa became the 22nd victim whiles two more recoveries brings the total to 152. These figures were given by Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi in April 2 briefing on the virus situation.
A total of 1195 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, one of the highest in a day. It also comes two days after mass testing was rolled out in parts of the capital and Mombasa. The exercise, however, suffered an early setback with low turnout especially in Mombasa.
According to records, although the target was 24,000 residents, only 131 showed up for the test rolled out on Thursday. The Health CAS cautioned small businesses that seem to have gone back to work, saying “the disease is still with us”.
Businesses flouting the rules set in place to curb disease spread will be closed. Dr Mwangangi noted that there has been a decrease in the number of patients visiting hospitals for other illnesses.
While this would ordinarily be good news, the CAS said citizens should not be afraid to seek medical assistance when needed, the Standard Digital portal said in its report.
May 1: Case count hits 411, Uhuru vows transparency
The case count has reached 411 as of May 1 after 15 new cases were recorded over the last 24-hours. Meanwhile recoveries have reached 150 according to data released today by the Ministry of Health.
Fatalities stand at 21 with active cases at 240. Kenya’s overall test count stands at 21,702. A total of 1,434 samples were tested in the last 24 hours, marking a rise from the trend where less than 1,000 had been tested daily.
Nairobi and Mombasa counties remain the most impacted with 248 and 124 cases respectively. Partially locked down Kilifi, Mandera and Kwale also have 9, 8 and 2 cases in that order.
Other counties with cases are Kiambu, Kajiado, Kitui, Nakuru, Siaya and Kakamega. Uasin Gishu, Homabay and Wajir complete the list.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday assured the country that all fund being sunk into combating the coronavirus will be properly accounted for and the report made public in due course.
He was speaking at State House as part of a muted 2020 Labour Day celebrations, addressing concerns in the wake of reports about financial mismanagement with the virus funds.
“We should also focus on the future since corona will not be with us forever. I was surprised when some criticized me for exporting flowers abroad,” he said.
“The flower industry employs very many people. The moment corona is over they will remember us for standing with them in their time of need.”
The President also tasked Kenyans to do all it takes to combat the virus and minimize the incidence of job losses. “We cannot relax in our efforts to conquer this invisible enemy and to put our economy on a strong growth path.
“Because, if we do not, we could lose upwards of half a million jobs over the next 6 months. We must do whatever it takes to minimize, if not to fully contain such loss in jobs,” he said.
Source: agencies report.