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Kenyans advised to mask up as Covid-19 cases surge

The Ministry of Health has said Kenyans will now be required to wear masks in public places following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

According, the Director of Public Health at the Ministry of Health, Dr Francis Kuria, the positivity rate has been on a rise since start of May hitting a high of 5.6 per cent and averaging at 3.3 per cent weekly.

The increased infection rates come against the backdrop of increased inoculation against Covid-19, with 8.4 million Kenyans fully vaccinated as at June 1, up from 7.8 million on March 11.

“We are urging Kenyans to have their masks on. We are worried that the Covid-19 numbers are going up. At the time of lifting some of the measures, the positivity rate was about one per cent and at the beginning of May, it was about 0.1 per cent but all of a sudden, we have a weekly average of 3.3 percent and the highest at 5.6 percent,” Dr Kuria said.

Kenya’s proportion of tests coming back positive stood at 5.7 per cent on Thursday compared to a low of 0.3 per cent on March 11 when Kenya relaxed restrictions such as wearing of masks.

As the ministry lifted wearing of face masks in public places, Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe encouraged the use of masks and adherence to social distancing rules in all indoor spaces.

At the same time, the government on Thursday said that it is targeting more than 800,000 KCSE school leavers for Covid-19 vaccination as part of its strategy to attained 50 per cent of the teenage population protected against the pandemic.

Principal Secretary, Ministry of Health Susan Mochache urged parents and guardians to encourage teenagers to get vaccinated as a way to protect the more vulnerable senior citizens against Covid-19.

The PS made the appeal when she presided over the official launch of accelerated Covid-19 vaccination campaign in Kibra, Nairobi. The government, PS Mochache said, targets to vaccinate 100 percent adult population and 50 percent of the teenage population.

The six weeks’ campaign is a jointly conducted by the Ministry of Health and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) with support of WHO, Unicef and Usaid.

Since the March 12, 2020, when the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Kenya, the Ministry of Health has reported a total of 324,976 cases, and 5,651 fatalities.

In March 2021, the government introduced Covid-19 vaccination augmenting the effect of other interventions including proper frequent hand washing, social distancing, the use of sanitizers and the use of masks to curb the spread of the virus. Covid-19 vaccination remains the most effective intervention in the fight against this pandemic.