Kenya’s Ministry of Health has reinstated the wearing of masks in public spaces as the country’s Covid-19 positivity rate has spiked.
The Ministry’s Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said that other confined spaces where citizens will be required to wear masks include offices, houses of worship and political indoor meetings, reports Xinhua news agency.
According to Kagwe, Kenya’s Covid-19 positivity rate had risen from a weekly average of 0.6 per cent in early May to the current 10.4 per cent, hence the need for drastic measures to avert strain on the local public health system.
“The sharp rise in coronavirus infections should concern everyone and we must take strong measures to prevent a slide into a public health crisis,” Kagwe said at a briefing in Nairobi.
He added that the government will accelerate Covid-19 vaccination to avert large-scale hospitalizations and fatalities, adding that the majority of new cases are mild and are being treated under state funded home-based care programmes.
Kagwe said the current cold season in Kenya combined with heightened campaigns ahead of the August 9 general elections could worsen Covid-19 transmission.
The Ministry in March announced relaxation of Covid-19 containment measures stating that wearing of masks was optional, following a sustained drop in new infections.
Local epidemiologists had late April warned that the country could experience a mild wave of infections from May to July, clarifying that the risk of mass fatalities was minimal.
Ministry statistics indicate that total confirmed positive cases stood at 329,605 as of Monday, after 252 people tested positive in the last 24 hours from a sample size of 1,993 while the positivity rate stood at 12.6 per cent.
The capital Nairobi is the hotspot for new coronavirus infections followed by neighbouring county of Kiambu while the port city of Mombasa also recorded surging transmission.
The proportion of fully vaccinated adults stood at 31.5 per cent as of Monday, as the government raced against time to attain a 70 per cent target before the year’s end.