Kenya on high alert after Covid ‘super variant’ reported in South Africa


By Elizabeth Merab

Kenya has warned health facilities to prepare for an upsurge in the number of Covid-19 cases that are likely to be more sever among unvaccinated persons. 

This follows reports that a new coronavirus variant, known as B.1.1.529 and first detected in southern Africa, could be more lethal than previous variants of the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 diseases.

On Friday, acting director-general of Health, Dr Patrick Amoth, said that given the nature of transmission of Covid-19 it is inevitable that the variant may eventually get into the country.

“Special emphasis should be placed on the availability of critical care facilities, piped oxygen, and additional human resource surge capacity,” he said, while calling on all eligible Kenyans to be fully vaccinated.

The proportion of adults fully vaccinated against the virus is still relatively low at 9.4 per cent prompting the government this week to issue a directive that residents must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination by December 21 to access government services.

Dr Amoth further directed that all points of entry must conduct rigorous screening of all arriving passengers from the affected countries, with physical proof of vaccination prior to entry into the country for all inbound travellers.

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