Covid-19 variant from India detected in Kenya, MoH says


Dr Patrick Amoth File Photo

The Ministry of Health has Wednesday confirmed the Indian Variant of Covid-19 has been picked in Kenya from Indian workers in Kisumu County.

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Dr Patrick Amoth while addressing the media said 18 Indian travellers who arrived in the country via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport tested positive based on antigen tests conducted.

The 18 travellers will however have to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the results.

This is as the County Government of Kisumu has said that surveillance has been stepped up after the Indian Variant of Covid -19 was detected in the County.

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Through a statement, Prof. Boaz Otieno-Nyunya CECM – Health & Sanitation Kisumu County says gene sequencing was carried out on samples by the National Government testing laboratories and it has been ascertained that one of the samples turned positive for the Indian variant of Covid-19.

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The County Government has since confined at least 8 foreign nationals who tested positive to the Indian variant and is currently conducting an elaborate contact tracing to help stop the spread of the virus.

All the 8, who were working at a local factory are suspected to have recently travelled from India.

At least 100 other workers who are said to have had close contact with the 8 have been placed under strict quarantine as the county moves with speed to stop a further spread of the Virus.

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Kisumu residents are now being urged to continue adhering to the Covid-19 protocols to help keep away the stubborn virus.

“Our disease surveillance teams are alert and contact tracing is going on. Our people must avoid gatherings and wear masks at all times,” says Prof. Otieno-Nyunya

This statement comes days after the Kenyan Government suspended all flights to and from India for 14 days.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the National Response Committee (NERC) arrived at the decision after deliberations following the upsurge of COVID-19 cases in India.

“The Committee observed the dire events in India and noted the increasing surge of COVID-19 infections in the country. The Committee empathized with the situation and through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed solidarity with the Government of India in dealing with the situation,” he said

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The suspension took effect on Saturday 29th of April meaning passengers travelling to or arriving from India only had 72 hours to do so.

Passengers who arrived from India within 72 hours under the new restrictions were supposed to undergo mandatory COVID-19 tests and also required to take 14 days quarantine on arrival.

Cargo operations will however continue between the two countries in observance of transport protocols.

Daily infections in India rose by 382,315 on Wednesday, health ministry data showed. The number has been in excess of 300,000 every day for the past two weeks.

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