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HomeJanga La CoronaMoH on new South African Covid-19 variant: "Prepare for upsurge in number...

MoH on new South African Covid-19 variant: “Prepare for upsurge in number of cases”

In Summary

  • The new variant, B.1.1.529, carries 32 mutations which makes it highly transmissible.
  • Kenya has had 254,862 cases as of 26th November 2021, and 5,333 deaths.

The Ministry of Health says Kenya should brace itself for an upsurge in Covid-19 cases, “which are likely to be severer amongst unvaccinated persons.”

Reacting to the discovery of a new, more deadlier and highly transmissible variant of the virus in South Africa, Dr. Patrick Amoth, acting Director General for Health, also said that all passengers arriving in Kenya from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe must take Covid-19 tests.

Kenya is currently witnessing a decreased number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. The case fatality rate stands at 2.1%. The new variant has been detected in Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong.

“So far, cases of the new variant are restricted to the three countries, but given its ease of transmission and a global return to mass movements, there is need for increased vigilance at all our points of entry,” says Dr Amoth.

Covid-19 Situation

The United Kingdom has already banned flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe, while India has initiated Rapid Diagnostic Testing (RDT) for all passengers arriving from these countries.

Dr Amoth notes that passenger air traffic between Kenya and South Africa is significant and “so the potential of introduction is a real threat.”

“The country should prepare for an upsurge in number of cases which are likely to be severer amongst unvaccinated persons,” adds Dr Amoth.

Negative Test Mandatory

He says that in mitigation, Kenyans should ensure they are vaccinated and that health facilities should prepare to handle an increased number of cases.

All travellers to Kenya must also possession a negative COVID-19 PCR taken 96 hours before arrival into the country. “We urge all Kenyans whether vaccinated or not to continue adhering to the public health social measures including proper wearing of masks, social distancing, hand washing with soap and water and use of sanitizers,” adds Dr Amoth.

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