President Uhuru Kenyatta could extend the lockdown period if he embraces a Ministry of Health advice that warns of a looming spike in new Covid-19 infections.
The containment measures effected by the government will lapse on July 6, but Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said Friday that majority of the counties are not well equipped to grapple with the demands of the pandemic.
During an extraordinary virtual summit held on Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta told governors in attendance that the decision to re-open the economy will be pegged on the counties’ preparedness to respond to Covid-19 infections.
The meeting which was graced by Deputy President William Ruto and 46 governors, sought opinion on safety measures that will be effected before a decision is made to lift restrictions.
Counties Lack Enough Isolation Beds
A progress report presented by the Council of Governors chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya, indicates that all the 47 counties are yet to meet the national target of 30,500 beds with only 6,898 isolation beds already in place.
Only 12 counties had met the 300 per county isolation beds threshold while 34 others were on course to meet the target within the month.
Other 36 counties are reported to have a cumulative 343 ICU beds while 28 of them have 337 ventilators.
On talent, the counties reported that a total of 16,914 health personnel had been trained in Covid-19 management, among them 59,449 community health volunteers.
Education experts want the government to prepare adequately before schools are reopened, saying that enforcing social distance in 40,000 schools with a population of 14 million could prove a difficult task, exposing lives of children to further risk.
President Kenyatta Rules Out Re-opening
The president reminded Kenyans that the situation was not a unique one after the country went through a similar experience in 1982 after the August failed coup, which saw learning suspended for a year.
He poured cold water on any hopes that the economy could reopen soon.
“County readiness to respond to new imported cases of infection will largely determine our national readiness to re-open the country as a whole. I say this because the nation is the sum total of all the 47 counties. If the counties have met the necessary thresholds, then the nation will be ready to re-open,” he said.
Early this month, President Kenyatta extended the countrywide curfew starting at 9pm as well as the cessation of movement in Nairobi, counties of Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa and Mandera to July 6.
Kenya on Friday reported 149 new cases raising the Covid-19 infections to 5,533.