NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – Kenya recorded 138 new coronavirus casesThursday in what raised the caseload in the country to 98,693.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the new cases were detected from 4,526 samples.
Kagwe said 3 more patients had succumbed to the virus, raising fatalities in the country to 1,730.
266 patients recovered from the virus among them 251 from home-based care and 15 from various hospitals across the country raising recoveries so far to 81,933.
Kenya has recorded a sustained decline in COVID-19 cases since December 2020, and is on the path to restoring normalcy.
Schools resumed in the country in early January even as President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the night curfew that starts at 10pm to 4am to March 12.
Bars and restaurants in the country are operating under strict COVID-19 regulations while large crowds remain suspended.
Kagwe has assured of the government’s efforts to eradicate the virus in the country with the vaccine expected in the country from mid February.
“In the first two weeks of February we expect the vaccine to be here and I have explained that the first people to be vaccinated on a voluntary basis are essentially health care workers another frontline actors being doctors nurses, teachers and so and so forth. We will not force anybody it will be voluntary,” Kagwe said.
Kenya has ordered the COVID-19 Astra Zeneca Vaccine and is also keen to acquire the Chinese vaccine.
Kagwe said the Ministry of Health has assured that the new UK variant of COVID-19 has not spread to Kenya.
“We are observing the global trends very very carefully in COVID-19,” Kagwe said.
On Wednesday, the Kenya Medical and Research Institute (KEMRI) affirmed that none of the COVID-19 variants of concern identified in the United Kingdom or South Africa had been detected in the country.
KEMRI however, said that some of the Kenyan COVID-19 genomes had mutations whose significance is yet to be fully understood.
The scientists from the KEMRI’s Centre for Virus Research (CVR) and Centre for Geographic Medicine Research-Coast (CGMR-C) in collaboration with the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) working closely with County teams sequenced 294 genomes sampled from the coastal region and Nairobi and identified 10 circulating COVID-19 lineages in Kenya between March and June 2020.
Additional sequencing of 205 genomes sampled from the coastal region between June and October 2020 identified 16 circulating lineages.
“This successful sequencing for the novel corona virus in Kenya is a significant milestone in the response to the pandemic in Kenya and the entire World, as this will strengthen surveillance for tracking mutations of the virus and aid in the tracing of the sources of community infections,” Prof. Yeri Kombe, Director-General KEMRI said.
In recent weeks, the UK and parts of the US have been hard hit by the new COVID-19 variant forcing authorities to suspend schools and impose fresh containment measures.