NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 – Government’s handling of the COVID-19 disease since the pandemic struck the country in March 2020 has been rated at an average of 47 per cent in an end-year poll released by Infotrak on Sunday.
The survey indicated that only 22 per cent of the respondents scored government efforts as excellent while 28 per cent others rated the response as poor.
Across the country, respondents from Western Kenya rated the government’s average performance at 59 per cent followed by Rift Valley at 51 per cent.
The period under review was characterized with an economic meltdown and job losses, with security officers being on spot for use of excessive force while enforcing the dusk-to-dawn curfew.
Among key national players, police were rated among the poorest performers at 45 per cent, in a survey that saw 800 people interviewed across the country .
In the survey, 42 percent of the surveyed respondents voted for healthcare workers as their 2020 heroes, followed by President Uhuru Kenyatta scored 12 per cent and at the third position was the Ministry of Health with 11 per cent.
Deputy President William Ruto was ranked as Kenya’s fourth hero with 10 percent.
Meanwhile, the survey indicated that a majority of the respondents at 65 percent felt that the government mismanaged the economy in 2020.
“However, 42 percent are confident that government will do better in 2021,” reads the survey.
The country’s caseload stands at 99,898 cases, with 1,740 fatalities.
The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has projected that following the full-scale school reopening, there will be about 13.7 thousand new COVID-19 cases and nearly 116 new deaths by June.
The agency, through a publication dubbed Projections of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths Following Schools Reopening, noted that there will be 1.1 million infections over the period, with the large majority of infections remaining undetected owing to the limitations on testing.
The agency projected that the rate of COVID-19 cases and death incidences will peak in mid-March 2021.
While noting that there will be more clarity on the impact of schools opening in terms of numbers by mid-February, KEMRI said the most plausible effect of schools reopening will be that the transmission rate in Kenya which will increase the time-varying reproductive number by 25 per cent.
“The estimated +25% R(t) increase is conditional on other restrictions that reduce transmission remaining in place, and measures being in place to reduce transmission in the schools setting,” KEMRI said.
“A worst-case scenario would be an increase in R(t) by 50 per cent and resulting in an epidemic of similar magnitude to the second outbreak in the country. We think this is unlikely,” it added.
KEMRI further estimated that there would be a 50 per cent reduction of within school infectious contacts compared to pre-pandemic social mixing in schools based on the additional measures introduced.
“We estimated that there would be a 50% reduction of within school infectious contacts compared to pre-pandemic social mixing in schools based on the additional measures introduced,” the agency added.
Students resumed in-person learning on January 4 after a nine-month break which was necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Bars and restaurants in the country are operating under strict COVID-19 regulations while large crowds remain suspended.