NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – A section of Kenyans turning up for mass COVID-19 tests have been providing inaccurate contact information to health authorities impeding contact tracing efforts in the war to contain the virus.
The Ministry of Health made the revelation on Sunday noting its surveillance teams had been unable trace persons whose samples had tested positive for the virus in certain areas in Nairobi and Mombasa.
“We have noticed a disturbing trend while conducting our targeted testing where some individuals who provide wrong contact and telephone numbers during testing,” Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman told reporters.
Aman said the government was unable transfer to the infected persons quarantine facilities who now risk spreading the infection to their close contacts.
“The consequence of not being traced and quarantined when having tested positive for coronavirus can be disastrous since you are also exposing your loved ones,” Aman warned.
The health kicked off mass testing in April in high-risk areas and populations in upscalled efforts to combat the virus.
Since then, the government has managed to conduct the exercise in Mandera, parts of Nairobi such as Eastleigh and Kawangware and Mombasa’s Mvita and Old Town.
Eastleigh and Old Town Mombasa and Mandera have been placed under a partial lockdown due to the high number of coronavirus cases reported in the regions.
However low turnout as seen in Mombasa’s Old Town continues to slow the mass testing campaign.
Acting Director for the Health Ministry Patrick Amoth had mentioned that going forward in the month of May targeted mass testing will be intensified in Nairobi’s Kawangware and Eastleigh, and Mvita in Mombasa.
The efforts are seen as crucial to facilitate the safe reopening of the country’s economy which has been battered by current containment measures.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on May 23 hinted at the possibility of relaxing current COVID-19 containment measures which include a nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew and restrictions of movement into and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, and Mandera.
Kenya had registered 1,214 confirmed cases as at May 24. The Ministry of Health has so far tested 59,260 samples.
The first case in the country was registered on March 13.
The number of recovered patients stands at 383.