Economy

Delta variant driving up Covid-19 infections, says Kagwe

COUNTY-VACCINE

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe (centre) briefs media on the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine to counties outside the offices of the Council of Governors on March 10, 2021. NMG PHOTO

HELLEN SHIKS

Summary

  • The Health Ministry has confirmed that the Delta variant of the coronavirus is now dominant in Kenya, contributing to the recent spike in infections.
  • Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe did not share exact figures regarding the reach of the variant whose origin is India.

The Health Ministry has confirmed that the Delta variant of the coronavirus is now dominant in Kenya, contributing to the recent spike in infections.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe did not share exact figures regarding the reach of the variant whose origin is India.

Despite the sharp increase in the positivity rate, Mr Kagwe said, the country was yet to transition to the fourth wave as was earlier predicted by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri).

“The dominant variant, irrespective of the specific numbers in each county, remains the Delta variant. We are already in it and it is spreading in the community,” said Mr Kagwe yesterday.

Experts, however, are calling for transparency with regard to genome sequencing, saying that such data when shared with the public contributes to individual vigilance and therefore a better public health outcome.

Dr Patrick Amoth, the acting director-general for Health, played down suggestions that Kenya could be having challenges with genome sequencing of Covid-19 variants.

“Our genome sequencing capacity is adequate. We are even helping other countries such as South Sudan, Somali, Comoros among others. We are not in the same place as we were when the pandemic started where we only had one centre for genomic surveillance. We now have three; in Kilifi, Kisumu and Nairobi,” said Dr Amoth.

Mr Kagwe also raised the red flag over the positivity rate for Nairobi, terming it the most worrying. He said the government was shifting its focus from the Lake region as the hotspot to Nairobi and other counties.

“Nairobians are in most danger and they should be vigilant as far as the virus is concerned. Experts are still in the process of reviewing containment measures in the Western region as the positivity rate has gone down but a decision has not been made yet,” he said.

Kenya had 199,941 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 3,895 deaths by yesterday, with a positivity rate of 18 percent.