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Coronavirus infections shoot up in Kenya as Uhuru orders closing down schools

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online
President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing journalists at Harambee House in Nairobi on March 15, 2020 following confirmation of two more coronavirus cases in Kenya, bringing the total to three. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

NAIROBI, Kenya - All learning institutions in Kenya will shut down from Monday [tomorrow], President Uhuru Kenyatta announced, with the East Africa nation confirming the third case of coronavirus infection.

The two new infections, Uhuru said in a press conference on Sunday, were people who closely interacted with the lady who had been diagnosed with the virus upon tests last week. As

In the first case, a 27-year-old lady who tested positive for Coronavirus had reportedly traveled from the US via London early this month, amid global shut down following the pandemic which first emanated in China.

Already, the 27 people from the suburbs of Rongai who are said to have interacted with her, were tracked down by authorities and quarantined, Uhuru told reporters.

"I wish to announce that we have confirmed two more positive cases of COVID-19," he said. "They are part of 27 people who were isolated after coming in contact with the first patient".

Sunday's new development in Kenya takes the total number of infections within East Africa to nine. Ethiopia recorded there more also on Sunday with Rwanda also registering one. Sudan recorded one death, reports indicated.

To avert the rapid spread of the virus, various measures were outlined by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who, however, insisted that the country "has the capacity" to handle the cases.

Learning activities will be halted until further notice, with the closing down of all institutions set to start on Monday. Universities are expected to close down by Friday, Uhuru added.

He said: "I order for all schools to be closed down with immediate effect. Day schools from Monday, boarding schools by Wednesday and universities by Friday."

Further, travel restrictions have been imposed on people entering the country from Coronavirus-infested countries. However, Uhuru did not name the countries affected.

So far, over 130 countries have recorded positive cases of the virus, with Italy and China leading with the highest infections. World Health Organization [WHO] has already declared the virus a pandemic.

To further curb the spread of the virus, Uhuru asked the government and businesses encourage to have people to work from home; except essential services.

Also, cashless transactions over cash were encouraged and the cost of transactions to be reduced. Public gatherings have also been banned including weddings, malls, night clubs, churches, limitations of visits to hospitals.

Since the first cases was reported in Wuhan city in China, over 140,000 people have been infected worldwide. So far, 5,000 deaths have been recorded mostly in China and Italy, WHO said.

But in what is a huge positive stride, of those infected, 65,000 have recovered according to statistics given by the WHO officials. Scientists are racing against time to find a vaccination for the disease.

Economists have warned possible global recession precipitated by grounding most of the income-generating activities, with tourism and transport being the worst-hit sectors.

Tanzania, Burundi, Zanzibar, South Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia are the only East and Horn of Africa nations which are yet to record a single case of COVID-19.


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