Kenya’s COVID-19 cases hit 700 as more truck drivers test positive

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Kenyan Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman (third from left) addresses the press outside the Ministry of Health headquarters in Nairobi on Monday, May 11, 2020. COURTESY: TWITTER/Ministry of Health

The number of COVID-19 cases in Kenya hit 700 after the Ministry of Health reported 28 new cases on Tuesday.

Ministry of Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said that nine of the cases were reported in Kajiado County from truck drivers who came in from neighbouring Tanzania, which borders the county to the south.

“The nine cases from Kajiado are all Kenyan truck drivers who were returning from Tanzania and tested at the Namanga border point. These nine cases were positive among the other drivers that were tested,” Aman said.

Aman clarified that Kenya was testing Tanzanian truck drivers before they entered the country and would notify authorities in Tanzania of any positive result to allow them to take up the cases. As a result of this, Aman said that five Tanzania drivers were found to have contracted the virus.

“They are sampled while they are on their side of the border and we conduct the test. Five of those Tanzanian drivers, who were on their side of the border waiting to enter Kenya, were found to be positive. So when they are found positive on their soil, we share the information with the Tanzanian authorities. They will then be able to take up those cases, to isolate them and as well do the contact tracing on their side,” Aman said.

The news comes hours after Uganda reported five new COVID-19 cases, three of which were Kenyan truck drivers.

Aman added that the government was considering all options, including a possible border closure with Tanzania, to contain the threat of cross-border transmission of COVID-19.

“Every possibility is on the table and up for discussion and when the time comes and it is felt it is necessary, that measure will be taken. That measure will be taken; all these options are on the table being discussed on a daily basis. The triggers, once they are in place, the action will be taken,” he said.

Zambia has already temporarily closed its border with Tanzania, which has so far reported 509 cases, in an attempt to halt the spread of the deadly virus.

Aman further warned Kenyans to inform the authorities of any illegal border-crossings to halt the cross-border spread of the disease. Aman singled out Wajir and Mandera Counties, which border Somalia, as posing a danger of cross-border COVID-19 transmission.

Local media outlet, the Daily Nation, previously reported that locals in Mandera were sneaking into Somalia to perform Tarawiih prayers (evening prayers during the month of Ramadan). Wajir County, meanwhile, had reported two COVID-19 cases which were imported from Somalia.


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