The government has announced that 674 samples were tested in the last 24 hours for the coronavirus, 11 of which tested positive, bringing the total number of infections so far to exactly 208. The new cases are aged between 1 and 42. HEALTH CS Mutahi Kagwe also said that Kenya has an additional 15 new recoveries in the last 24 hours bringing the total recoveries 40.
One more person has succumbed to the illness bringing the total number of deaths now at 9.
The new coronavirus was characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In his presser, CS Kagwe noted the concern raised a video that raised a storm erupted on social media, showing hasty night burial of suspected #Covid19 victim in Siaya. The grotesque act forced Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga to issue a public apology saying he was not aware of the burial plan. He has however formed a five-member team to investigate the bizarre burial.
“The Siaya burial has raised some concerns; we are currently addressing this with the County Government of Siaya. However, I want to inform the country, that moving forward, there will be challenges. I want to say in an honest a term as I can, and be brutally honest, that …our cultural practices on how we dispose the bodies of our loved ones may not be practical in an extreme situation. I, therefore, want our people to be mentally prepared and accept that COVID-19 victim bodies shall be disposed in a manner that protects the living from infections and in accordance with Ministry of Health burial protocols.” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe
Education CS Magoha also weighed in on the Siaya burial terming the act of leaning towards culture a great risk during this pandemic.
“Being a Luo from Siaya, I would like to pronounce myself on the night burial of a Covid-19 patient. There is a big risk of people leaning towards culture and forgetting that what has been done is in the overall interest of the family at large. ” CS George Magoha
This address is especially important because the culture in western Kenya is eminently sociable. People greet each other with handshakes and hugs, and spend much of their time in groups for meals, ceremonies such as burials and worship. The communities have high regard for the dead too.
President Kenyatta too, previously, rallied Kenyans to play their part in the effort to safeguard lives against corona virus giving hope to all Kenyans.
“This pandemic will test us, as it is testing all countries in every corner of the world, but I do not believe it will defeat us. If we pull together, and everybody does their part, we shall overcome its worst impacts,” he said.
Kenya announced restrictive measures in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, including school closures, bans on entry for non-Kenyans, ban of 4 inter-county travels, and instructions for anyone who has traveled internationally in the previous 14 days to self-quarantine.
The government issued guidelines for handling Corona-virus dead victims that must be strictly followed on the conduct of funerals which includes minimizing the number of attendants to not more than fifteen and ensuring social distancing.
- The local health authorities should designate a team to oversee the process of human remains disposal in case of COVID-19 deaths.
- Minimize handling transportation of human remains to the extent possible.
- Ensure that anyone handling the body bag wears single-use (disposable) gloves with extended cuffs and a long-sleeved disposable gown.
- Coordinate all transportation of human remains of a COVID-19 patient with the local health officials
- As in the case of any other highly infectious disease, avoid transporting non-cremated remains via aircraft.
- A plan should be in place to transport the body safely from the hospital to the hearse or vehicle used to transport the body.
- A public health official should be designated in advance to accompany the body from the hospital to the place of final disposition to ensure the safety of all those involved in the process.
- Follow government guidance on the conduct of funerals which includes minimizing the number of attendants to not more than fifteen and ensuring social distancing.
- There should be procedures in place so the designated official accompanying the body knows what to do if the body bag is compromised during transport and how to safely decontaminate it.
- The health official overseeing the body disposal should have a bio-hazard spill kit and recommended PPE with all of the equipment needed for any situation in which the body bag is compromised.