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Kenyans in India asked to register as Covid-19 infections surge out of control

Kenya’s High Commission in New Delhi, India, has asked all Kenyans to register their names with the embassy to ease communication owing to the rapid rise of Covid-19 infections in the country.

Ambassador Willy Bett, in an announcement sent out on Friday, has asked all Kenyans to give their names, passport numbers, contacts and purpose of visit to India.

“Owing to the deteriorating Covid-19 situation… It is important for the High Commission to update its register of all Kenyan citizens living in India for accountability and decision-making purposes. Kenyans in this region are further advised to form WhatsApp groups and intimate such groups to the mission to ease communication in case such need arises,” states the notice by Ambassador Bett.

When reached on Sunday, the ambassador said he could not release information on the number of Kenyans who had registered with the embassy, as the data was still being compiled.

“We are still waiting for them to send us all their details so that we know how to sort out everyone, we shall communicate officially after we get it,” he said in a telephone interview.

According to India’s Health Ministry data, the number of coronavirus cases in the country as of Sunday hit 16.9 million, while deaths are approaching 200,000.

The Indian capital is also grappling with a massive oxygen shortage.

Last week, New Delhi recorded the biggest jump in its daily Covid-19 tally, with 25,462 new cases reported, while the positivity rate shot up to 29.74 per cent.

This meant that almost every third sample tested in the city turned out to be positive.

Urgent action needed

Dr Felix Asande Makori, a law lecturer at the University of Embu School of Law and a former student leader who last year graduated from India, says students in the country are in need of urgent attention.

“Many are unable to pay rent and their houses are now locked because their parents cannot facilitate their being there, the flight tickets back home are now at over Sh60,000 while others are waiting to sit their final semester exams and need to be there,” said Dr Makori in an interview.

Ms Consolata Magambo an MBA student at Ram Krishna Dharmarth Foundation, in Bhopal State, told the Nation that life is getting desperate for them.

“We’re hiding indoors and surviving by the grace of God and with our residential permits expiring, visa extensions are proving another headache,” said Ms Magambo.

Dennis Mondah, a 31-year-old microbiology student, said they are under strict curfew and running out of food and other vital supplies.

Kenyan patients and their caregivers across various Indian hospitals are also caught up in the crisis.

“I came here with my mother for cancer treatment, but with the current pandemic we are unable to sustain ourselves and my family has run out of money to send us,” a caretaker who sought anonymity told the Nation.