Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi during a press conference at Afya house on Wednesday April 8.
SEVEN MORE CASES: Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi during a press conference at Afya house on Wednesday April 8.

By Reporter

More MPs, their drivers, bodyguards, secretaries and other office workers will be tested for the coronavirus, the Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday. 

Others to be examined as the government rolls out mass testing are judges, magistrates, court clerks and all Judiciary workers in high-risk stations. 

The decision came after reports that 17 Members of the National Assembly and Senate had tested positive for the virus. 

“We are rolling out mass testing including testing of different institutions in the country and at that time we will be able to relay to you what the situation may look like in Parliament or the Judiciary,” Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi said.

Mwangangi said the private laboratories that tested the MPs had not relayed the information to the Ministry of Health. 

She said by law all private facilities must now share their Covid-19 test results with the ministry. 

“But it is also important to note even as we invoke the Public Health Act we are taking seriously matters of confidentiality and ensuring that those principles that are governed in medicine are still adhered to,” she said. 

The CAS further announced that Kenyans working in salons and barbershops will now be required to wear face masks while attending to their clients.

These are the additional measures outlined by the ministry yesterday to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

The ministry will be issuing guidelines on how they will regulate clients to ensure social distancing and reduce crowding. 

They will also be required to provide hand sanitiser to their clients and ensure they practice basic hygiene measures. 

Kenya Prisons have agreed to help make and supply additional face masks.

The ministry has set up separate isolation and quarantine centres for the medical staff who will contract the virus or get exposed while in their line of duty.

“I would like to make a special plea for those who are in possession of oxygen cylinders that are not in use kindly avail these cylinders to us to boost our capacity especially our critical care patients who may require supplementary oxygen,” Mwangangi said. 

The numbers of the positive cases in the country were 179 by Wednesday after the ministry announced seven additional ones. 

The seven were from 305 samples tested in various laboratories in the country.

All the seven are Kenyans, four of them with a travel history; one from Congo, one from UK and two from the USA. 

Five of the cases have been tested in Nairobi with Mombasa and Uasin Gishu recording one case each.

Two of the cases emanated from mandatory quarantine facilities while five were picked up by the surveillance teams doing contact tracing. 

“This disease has shown itself to be blind to our status, age, colour and height. It is for this reason that we are calling for one for all approach as we try to protect ourselves and our country. We need to drop our titles our beliefs, status or age and recognise we need to fight this menace together,” the CAS said.

Out of the 179 positive cases, three are below 15 years, 49 are between 15 to 29 years, 114 are aged between 30 to 59 while 13 are aged above 60. 

“When we look at our age distribution, this Covid-19 disease is affecting the more productive members of our society. This means we do need to take charge and observe the various interventions that we have put in place,” Mwangangi said. 

The seven new patients have been moved to various isolation facilities to be put under treatment and contact tracing is ongoing. Four are women and three men.

As at Wednesday, 2,004 people had been monitored through contact tracing.

Some 1,426 have been discharged after completing the 14 days follow up period. Another 578 are currently on follow-up. The government has tested 5,278 samples so far. 

One of the cases is under critical care while the rest of the 178 have moderate to mild condition. 

One of the patients who were in critical care in one of the private facilities in the country was yesterday discharged to the general ward. The Kenyan was on ventilator support.

Two additional cases were also discharged after a series of tests confirmed them negative, bringing the total number of recoveries in the country to nine.

“In regards to testing, it is important for us to ensure, because this is a public health matter, that indeed all labs that are conducting testing do follow the laid down protocols in terms of reporting any positive or negative cases that they may come in touch with,” the CAS said.