Kenya bans India flights as Covid catastrophe inflicts heavy toll

The government has suspended passenger flights between Kenya and India following a record-breaking surge of Covid-19 in the Asian country.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said at Moi County Referral Hospital, in Voi, on Wednesday, April 28, that the ban will take effect from Saturday midnight for a period of two weeks.

This is to allow those traveling tomorrow from India and those patients who are coming from treatment to arrive in the country.

However, the CS Kagwe said all passengers from India landing before Saturday midnight will be subjected to rapid antigen testing upon arrival.

“They shall be required to strictly observe a 14-day quarantine period that will be closely monitored by our health officials.  Those who test positive will be put into mandatory quarantine in specified areas at their own cost,” he said.

Read also: Kenyan doctors back home from Cuba training to battle Covid-19

The CS added that President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the Ministry of Health to work together with the government of India, to find ways of offering help to the Asian nation following record-breaking new cases, rising deaths and lack of oxygen in hospitals.

“The National Response Committee held a crisis meeting two days ago to deliberate on a raft of issues following which a number of resolutions were made. The committee noted the dire events in India and it empathizes with the situation,” he said.

India is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths over the last 24 hours, pushing its overall caseload to over 18 million.

With over 379,000 new cases and 3,645 deaths in the last 24-hour period, India’s total number of cases and deaths are now at 18.38 million and 204,000 respectively, according to the country’s health ministry data.

For this reason, the Health CS said the government is seeking to import Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the next two months to cover the deficit to ensure that more Kenyans are vaccinated against the virus.

So far about 853,000 Kenyans have been inoculated.

Read also: Kenya records 19 deaths as Covid-19 devastates India

Meanwhile, two more deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, 15 on diverse dates within the last one month and six being late death reports from facility record audits. This now pushes Kenya’s fatality to 2,688.

Mr Kagwe said the total confirmed positive cases are now at 158,326 after conducting a total of 1,659,506 tests since March last year.

As of today, Kenya’s positivity rate is at 9.8 per cent.

However, 579 patients recovered from the disease; 293 from home based and isolation care while 286 people have discharged from various health facilities across the country. Total recoveries now stand at 107,882.

“A total of 1,300 patients are currently admitted in various health facilities countrywide. 6,978 are on home based isolation and care, 198 in the Intensive Care Unit, 35 of whom are on ventilatory support,” said Mr Kagwe.

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