NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20- Coronavirus cases in the country were moving closer to the 100,000 mark Wednesday even as the government worked to flatten the curve.
On Wednesday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced 136 new cases that raised the country’s caseload to 99,444. The new cases were confirmed from 3,787 samples.
“So far so good and we are keeping our fingers crossed that this is something that will continue,” Kagwe said, of the less than 5 percent positivity rate sustained in weeks.
There were two deaths announced Wednesday, raising the country’s death toll to 1,736.
Kenya has recorded a sustained decline in COVID-19 cases since December 2020, and is on the path to restoring normalcy.
Although the cases have declined significantly, Kagwe cautioned that it was still too early to assume that the curve has been flattened.
“Some of the measures that we have eased especially opening of schools are pretty heavy events and we do not want to start declaring ourselves of having flattened the curve then we start going backward,” Kagwe said, “We also keep the observance of what is happening across the region and across the globe and therefore before you declare yourself of having come out of it, you must be aware of what is happening around you and the possibility that it could happen to yourself.”
Bars and restaurants in the country are operating under strict COVID-19 regulations while large crowds remain suspended.
On Tuesday, Kenyan scientists raised an alarm on a coronavirus variant they said differed from the one spreading in South Africa and England.
About 10 investigators from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) discovered the mutation of the virus responsible for the COVID-19 disease.
Principal investigator and researcher Charles Agoti, said that the variant unique to Kenya was detected in a batch of samples taken from Taita Taveta county
“Our interpretation is that because in this one place in Kenya we were seeing, it represents the majority of the sequenced samples, it does imply that actually, it could if it has intrinsic properties, be more transmissible,” Agoti said. “It could result in an increase in the number of cases locally.”
Between June and October of last year, KEMRI sequenced around 205 genomes in the coastal region and further identified around 16 circulating mutations all of which have so far proven harmless.
Agoti further added that the variant will not at this stage have an impact on the effectiveness of new coronavirus vaccines.
The health CS pointed out on Wednesday that Kenya’s doses of COVID-19 vaccines are set to start arriving in the country soon as the Ministry of Health had since received confirmation from the African Union and from the GAVI foundation that Kenya’s share will be ready by April.
Kagwe said that plans were at an advanced stage in securing the country the vaccines that once delivered will help in the fight and eradication of the virus.
Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said that the World Bank had already committed to fund Kenya in purchasing the COVID-19 vaccines whose cost has been projected to be billions of shillings.
The announcement was made as Kenya and the UK earlier on Wednesday signed a new health partnership that is designed towards maximizing knowledge share between medical professionals in both countries ostensibly in the fight against the virus.