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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,17TH APRIL,2020-The government now says it is ready to begin mass testing for the coronavirus in Kenya following the arrival of sampling tubes from China.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Friday morning said the government has received 200,000 sampling and testing tubes that are highly crucial for the mass testing exercise.
“These 200,000 sampling tubes are key to our ability to mass test Kenyans. Without these sampling tubes we would not be able to start our mass testing, but with these tubes we are now able to fast track,” said Kagwe.
He was speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) where he was accompanied by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and James Macharia of Transport to receive the consignment of medical supplies from China.
The equipment received include; 500,000 three-ply masks, 200,000 testing and sampling tubes, 4,000 shoe covers for use by frontline health workers, 300 static shoes used by doctors in theatres, 76,000 N95 masks and face visors.
The medical supplies from China were flown to the country by a Kenya Airways 787 Dreamliner.
CS Kagwe said additional ventilators would arrive into the country in the next flight.
The Health CS said the government is working to expand its testing capacity so that contacts of COVID-19 patients can be tested within the shortest time possible to control the spread of the pandemic
He announced that 450 samples had been tested by Friday morning out of which 12 cases emerged positive.
“As we stand right now, at this hour, we have already tested about 450 samples out of this, we have already got 12 positive cases and we have not finished the day. What this tells you is that we need to really start the testing capacity so that the contacts of those people who are positive can also be tested and therefore we can be able to contain the pandemic,” he said.
Among the 12 new patients are five hotel workers while four are from contact tracing.
On his part CS Matiang’i said the Interior Ministry is doing everything it takes to enforce the curfew and will step up measures to enforce guidelines set by the Ministry of Health to combat the coronavirus.
“We are stepping up preparations in the event of more challenges. Our plan with the county Government is working; County Governments working with County Commissioners have been asked to put aside isolation centres in the event that we need them,” said Matiang’i.
He added that the Ministry of Trade has assured that enough face masks would be availed in the country.
Transport CS James Macharia said Kenya Airways is ready in terms of any evacuations required, adding that the government would provide facilitation.