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President Uhuru Kenyatta during a virtual extra-ordinary meeting of the National and County Governments Coordinating Summit at State House, Nairobi/PSCU

Corona Virus

Counties shy of 30,500 COVID-19 isolation beds prerequisite for July 6 reopening

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 25 –The Council of Governors on Thursday said counties only have 6,898 isolation beds ready, against the 30,500 target set as prerequisite for lifting COVID-19 containment measures.

Speaking while presenting progress report in readiness for re-opening of the economy during a virtual extra-ordinary meeting of the National and County Governments Coordinating Summit chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, CoG Chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya said only 12 counties had met the 300 per county isolation beds threshold.

He however but assured the remaining counties were on course to meet the target within the remaining period of the month.

The Kakamega Governor said 36 counties have a cumulative sum of 343 beds while 28 counties have a total of 337 ventilators.

On Human resources Governor Oparanya reported that a total of 16,914 health personnel had been trained on COVID-19 management among them 54,449 community health volunteers.

He said the CoG working with the Ministry of Health and partners had developed a guideline on home-based Covid-19 management which is being rolled out.

Governor Oparanya thanked the President for his frontline role in the fight against COVID-19 saying the Head of State’s intervention had helped speed up response preparedness by counties.

“Through your directive that allowed County Governments to procure non-pharmaceuticals from other agencies, Counties have enhanced their response measures,” Governor Oparanya said.

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Oparanya said CoG supports the gradual re-opening of the economy subject to the setting up of a strict regime of COVID-19 containment protocols for businesses, places of worship and inter-county travel.

“We propose that a multi-agency approach is applied on disease containment through improvement of testing capacity; contact tracing and enforcing the social distancing mechanisms. 

“The reopening of the economy will have a County specific context. This will consider the County specific sector priorities and the health system ability to cope,” Governor Oparanya advised.

President Kenyatta told the Governors that the decision to re-open the country’s economy will be informed by the level of preparedness by the county governments to COVID-19 infections.

The President said the decision will largely be determined by the counties capacity to effectively respond to new cases of COVID-19 imported into their territories. 

“County readiness to respond to new imported cases of infection will largely determine our national readiness to re-open the country as a whole.

“I say this because the nation is the sum total of all the 47 counties. If the counties have met the necessary thresholds, then the nation will be ready to re-open,” he said. 

During the extra-ordinary summit, also addressed by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and his Education counterpart Prof George Magoha, a progress report on the roll out of the minimum Covid-19 response measures required ahead of the re-opening of the economy was presented.

CS Kagwe said COVID-19 infections in the country were on the rise and advised against re-opening of the economy before the response preparedness threshold agreed upon is fully met. 

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He said countries that had rushed to re-open their economies without having proper COVID-19 containment protocols in place were experiencing an upsurge in new infections.

The Health CS urged counties to speed up the recruitment of the 8000 health workers under the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) program so as to boost the country’s COVID-19 response capability.

Deputy President Dr William Ruto supported the President’s proposal for progressive reopening of economy and urged counties to speed up the implementation of Covid-19 containment measures. 

Additional reporting by the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU).

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