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719 new COVID-19 cases in Kenya as 9 more dead

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 29- Kenya recorded 719 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday raising infections in the country to 183,603.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the new cases were detected from a sample size of 7, 608.

The country’s positivity rate stood at 9.5 percent.

Kagwe said 1,088 patients were admitted to various hospitals across the country, including 112 in the Intensive Care Unit.

There were 9 fatalities reported late by health facilities, some dating back to late last year.

Total fatalities stood at 3,621.

800 patients were discharged after recovering from the virus, raising recoveries to 125,388.

The Health Ministry said 1,334,749 Kenyans have so far been vaccinated among them 328,848 who have received their second dose.

Kenya has barely made progress towards attaining herd immunity, the only hope to contain and defeat COVID-19, with statistics from the Ministry of Health indicating only 1 percent of the adult population had been fully vaccinated.

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Although the World Health Organization (WHO) has not indicated the specific proportion of the population that must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin inducing herd immunity, developed nations have adopted targets above 70 per cent.

The country expects to receive an undisclosed number of doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the United States government from next week.

The majority of African countries received their vaccines under the Covax scheme, and they were largely sourced from the Serum Institute of India.

When India stopped vaccine exports in response to its own urgent needs, manufacturers faced challenges in hastening production.

WHO had indicated in its projections that Africa needed 200 million doses to vaccinate 10 per cent of its population by September 2021.

On Tuesday, Kenya secured Sh.14 billion on Tuesday from the World Bank to boost its efforts in fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds which were approved by the World Bank Executive Directors were meant to facilitate affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

In a statement, World Bank Director for Kenya Keith Hansen said the additional financing is timely and comes at a time the government is making concerted efforts to contain the rising cases of the virus.

“The upfront financing for the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines will enable the government to expand access to more Kenyans free of cost,” he stated.

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“This additional financing will enable Kenya to procure more vaccines via the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) initiative and the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facilities. It will also support the deployment of those vaccines by boosting Kenya’s cold chain storage capacity, including establishing 25 county vaccine stores, strengthening the capacity of 36 sub-county stores, and equipping 1,177 health facilities with vaccine storage equipment.”

Other activities that will be funded include vaccine safety surveillance, training for health workers, advocacy and communication to encourage COVID vaccine intake among Kenyans.

This is the second additional financing for the Kenya COVID-19 Health Emergency Response Project after Sh. 10 billion that was approved under the Contingency Emergency Response Component of the Transforming Health Systems for Universal Care Project.

So far the World Bank has contributed Sh. 26.5 billion to Kenya’s COVID-19 response.

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