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Economy

Doctors warn against easing movement without mass testing

Jacqueline Kitulu
Kenya Medical Association chairperson Jacqueline Kitulu. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Doctors have warned of a “potentially disastrous” result of easing restrictions on movement without the backing of data compiled based on mass testing for Covid-19.

In its submissions to Parliament Thursday, the Kenya Medical Association (KMA), which represents medical and dental practitioners, said there has to be evidence that new cases have declined in the affected areas for up to two weeks before easing restrictions on movements.

By Wednesday, Kenya with a population of about 47 million people had only tested 67,341 with confirmed 1,471 cases and 55 deaths.

KMA said a reliable national network for contact-tracing, quarantine and isolation “that is free of coercion” was necessary.

“In the absence of data, and without the above criteria having been met, we consider any discussions on easing of movement restrictions and reopening sectors of the economy to be premature and potentially disastrous,” KMA president Jacqueline Kitulu told Senate Ad Hoc Committee on the Covid-19 Situation.

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The country is currently under a dusk-to-dawn curfew while restrictions on movement are being enforced in the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Mandera.

Eastleigh Estate in Nairobi and Old Town in Mombasa on lockdowns.

The Health ministry said restrictions on movement would continue in targeted areas until the country can flatten the coronavirus curve.

The KMA is recommending that any decision on enhancing or easing movement restrictions be based on data recorded from sufficient testing to understand the spread of this disease in the country.

It noted that the decision to impose movement restrictions in parts of the country was not based on any health or scientific considerations.

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