NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – Malindi lawmaker Aisha Jumwa has called for upscaled measures in Kilifi County, to curb the spread of coronavirus in the region a day after Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe confirmed Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi, who disregarded a mandatory self-quarantine directive after a trip abroad, had tested positive.
Jumwa said in a statement on Monday the news had sparked panic across the county over fears that the Deputy Governor might have infected others he came into contact with during multiple public meetings he attended prior to his admission in hospital on Saturday.
“I am particularly worried about the capacity of the Kilifi health department to solely contain further spread of the virus within the county and the larger Coastal Region, at the moment given that this case was confirmed a week into the patient’s stay in the county after his return from the virus-stricken Germany,” Jumwa stated.
“It is therefore my humble request that the National Emergency Response Committee on coronavirus declare Kilifi a priority county in the counter COVID-19 war and roll out urgent measures for extensive screening of county residents beyond the list of contact persons picked from the Deputy Governor’s case.”
She further urged Kilifi residents to strictly adhere to the government’s directive on preventative measures against the coronavirus pandemic, particularly on maintaining hygiene and avoiding religious and public gatherings, to minimize contact and avert the spread of the virus should there be positive cases yet to be quarantined.
“Let us go the extra mile of perseverance, at least for the time being to safeguard our health wellbeing and that of our loved ones,” Jumwa added.
Saburi is set to face charges for defying coronavirus self-quarantine guidelines for all passengers arriving from foreign countries.
CS Kagwe said the DG committed to a 14-day self-isolation period after his recent trip oversees but defied the directive, forcing authorities to impose mandatory isolation at his own cost.
He is currently quarantined at Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital’s coronavirus isolation and treatment centre.
The government Sunday confirmed eight more positive cases in the country bringing the total number of those infected to fifteen, with over a dozen others under isolation as health officials await lab results.
“We have received confirmation of additional 8 cases bringing the total number to 15, the persons are between 20 years (the youngest case) and 57 years old,” said Kagwe.
The eight – five being Kenyans, two Frenchmen and a Mexican – arrived in the country through Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where all passenger flights will be suspended from Wednesday, March 25.
Kagwe said the government is tracing 363 other persons that came into contact with patients now isolated at Kenyatta National Hospital’s Infectious Disease Unit.
The virus has so far claimed over 14,000 lives among them 12 in Africa and infected over 300,000 others globally.