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Domestic abuse on the rise amid coronavirus fight

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Health Chief Administration Secretary Dr Mercy Mwangangi during daily Covid-19 update on April 14, 2020. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

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Summary

  • Dr Mwangagi said the Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC) and the National Council on Administration of Justice (NCAJ) have recorded an increase in cases of domestic, gender-based and sexual violence perpetrated by close relatives and guardians.
  • Health ministry readies to roll out mass testing as cases rise to 216, and warns tough action on violence perpetrators.

As government enforces movement restrictions that have seen people stay at home in the fight against coronavirus pandemic, the Health ministry has reported a sharp rise in domestic violence.

Health Chief Administration Secretary Dr Mercy Mwangangi has warned that tough action would be taken against perpetrators.

Dr Mwangagi said the Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC) and the National Council on Administration of Justice (NCAJ) have recorded an increase in cases of domestic, gender-based and sexual violence perpetrated by close relatives and guardians.

"We want to remind everyone that the law has not been suspended, and that it will catch up with those who mete violence on others during this period," she said.

The CAS, who was giving the daily update on coronavirus in the country on Tuesday, urged Kenyans to focus on fighting the virus and to handle disputes within the civil structures and devoid of violence.

In the update, the ministry warned of rising Covid-19 cases in the counties even as it said it will be rolling out mass testing.

"Despite the measures we have put in place, we are witnessing a phenomenon where the virus is increasingly moving to the counties. What this means is that, we must work even more closely with our county governments to tighten our control measures, harmonise our responses and mobilise our people to take an active role in this fight," she said.

The ministry announced eight more cases of Covid-19, raising Kenya’s total to 216 in the last 24 hours.

Five of the new patients are Kenyans, while three are foreigners with six in Nairobi, and one each in Siaya and Nakuru counties after testing 694 samples.

Dr Mwangangi said the patients had travelled from Zambia, Comoros, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan.

Six of the cases emanated from mandatory quarantine centres, while two were picked by the surveillance teams.

One person has recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 41.

The CAS noted that given the rising number of cases, the government will be rolling out mass testing, taking into consideration the risk profiles of clusters.

In Nairobi, the quarantine centres, hotels and isolation facilities, and hospitals have been marked as top priority, as well as the high population density area like Kibra.

MASS TESTING

In Mombasa, the government will also be deploying 1,000 testing kits to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), whose seven of its workers have tested positive for the virus. Other counties in focus are Mandera and Siaya.

Dr Mwangangi said the first phase will see about 12,000 testing kits deployed to target areas.

The Covid-19 disease, which was first reported in Wuhan, China in December, has killed at least 123,452 people worldwide with at least 1,956,190 infections.

Some 462,938 people have recovered globally, according to Worldometer's count on Tuesday.