13 western counties under tighter Covid curbs as infections climb

Residents in 13 counties across western Kenya will be subjected to tighter Covid-19 containment measures for the next 30 days from today as the region continues posting the highest number of positive cases.

For the past two weeks, the counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Busia, Vihiga, Nyamira, Bomet, Trans Nzoia, Migori, Kericho, Kakamega, Homa Bay, Kisii and Bungoma have been new virus hotspots, accounting for 60 per cent of the total new infections in Kenya.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, said that among the revised measures to curb the spread of the virus includes, except for the essential services, are extended night curfew that will be enforced starting today between 7pm and 4am.

The ban on public gatherings and in-person worship will also be effective from the same date.

Mr Kagwe noted that proximity to the Ugandan border could be fueling the infections in Western Kenya noting that all cross-border cargo drivers will be required to possess a valid certificate indicating a negative COVID-19 test.

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Bulk cargo trucks will be occupied by only two persons while non-food and livestock open-air markets in the hotspot zone remain suspended for the next one month.

“All public gatherings and in-person meetings of whatever nature are prohibited within the hotspot zone, including house parties and sporting activities,” said Mr Kagwe.

All funerals and interment ceremonies in the zone shall be conducted within 72 hours upon confirmation of death and mourners will not exceed 50 persons.

The CS further added that all hospitals within the area will be required to allow only one visitor per admitted patient, and advised employers including the public and private sector, government offices, businesses and companies in the region to allow employees to work from home, with the exception of critical or essential services staff.

Kenya’s COVID-19 caseload rose to 177,282 on June 17 after 660 out of a sample size of 6,176 tested positive to the virus, posting a high positivity rate of 10.7 per cent.

Out of the 660 cases recorded in the last 24 hours, Siaya county recorded the highest number with 123 cases, followed by Kisumu at 102.

Busia and Homa Bay counties came third and fourth among the 13 zoned counties at 68 and 49 cases respectively.

The total fatalities reached 3,434 after six patients succumbed to the virus, one in the last 24 hours and five being late deaths reported after audits were conducted in health facilities.

The health ministry said a total of 1,059 patients are said to be currently admitted in various health facilities countrywide, while 4,812 patients are under the home-based isolation and care program.

Meanwhile, Kenya had administered about 1.16 million COVID-19 vaccines as of June 17. Over 992,000 being first doses and about 171,000 second doses.

In addition, over 358,000 doses of vaccine expected from Denmark today.

Kenya also expects about 13 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in August out of the 10 million doses it had ordered through the African Union following the cost reduction of each dose.

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