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Health Ministry Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Mercy Mwangangi demonstrates the proper use of a face mask to prevent coronavirus during a media briefing on, April 5, 2020. /FILE/MoH

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Coronavirus, food security identified as utmost priorities in new opinion poll

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 6 – Majority of Kenyans have singled out coronavirus and food security as issues of utmost concern with 55 and 47 per cent of respondents interviewed in a new study urging the government to upscale its efforts to address the two.

The survey released by Infotrak Research and Consulting on Sunday noted that the government should also focus on access to quality healthcare, unemployment, high cost of living and access to clean water as it battles the global pandemic which has infected more than 1.2 million people worldwide.

“Other critical issues of concern include: access to quality healthcare;27 percent, unemployment;25 per cent, high cost of living; 21 per cent and access to clean water; 19 per cent,” the survey noted.

Forty-one per cent of 831 respondents sampled across 24 of Kenya’s 47 between March 30 and April 2 counties however believe the threat posed by the virus has been exaggerated with nearly half of people surveyed dismissing it as a common cold.

“While Kenyans seem to have high awareness on COVID 19 and how it can be contracted there are several issues that still need education and clarification from government,” part of the survey indicated.

Thirty-five per cent of the respondents told the pollster they were planning to take their families upcountry despite a government advisory against unnecessary urban-rural travel until the pandemic is quelled.

Overall, 75 per cent of those interviewed are worried about the coronavirus situation in Kenya despite the government imposing several measures including a dusk-to-dawn curfew, nationwide school closures, suspension of all international travel, isolation of recent travelers for 14 days, closure of bars and restaurants (except takeaway services) and passenger distancing guidelines in public service vehicles.

Kenya has recorded 142 cases of coronavirus and four deaths, the latest being a six-year-old. Four patients have recovered from the virus.

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Sixty-eight percent of the 831 respondents sampled interviewed by Infotrak recommended a complete lock down as a measure to avert further spread of the virus.

Despite most respondents being in support of a total lockdown, the study revealed, “35 per cent of Kenyans are not at all prepared to handle the lockdown should it happen.”

In terms of preparedness, Nairobi and counties in the North Eastern region were cited as least prepared to handle a total lockdown with 49 per cent and 57 per cent of respondents in the said regions saying they are not prepared.

Infotrak’s reported a 95 per cent degree of confidence.

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