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Kenya to step up border tests with Namanga mobile lab

Rashid Aman
Health CAS Rashid Aman during the press briefing on May 13, 2020 at Afya House, Nairobi. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG 

Kenya will station a mobile laboratory at the Namanga border point targeting long-distance drivers as the country steps up its surveillance to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The new laboratory is expected to expedite the testing of the truck drivers coming into Kenya from Tanzania, with 25 found to have the virus at Namanga on Wednesday.

“We shall soon be receiving mobile laboratories from the East Africa Community to improve disease surveillance... The two fully-equipped laboratories are capable of carrying out Covid-19 testing,” Health Chief Administrative Secretary, Rashid Aman told a media briefing in Nairobi on Wednesday. “And, hopefully, by next week, one of the two laboratories will be stationed and operational at the Namanga border to facilitate testing of truck drivers at the border point.”

The latest cases at Namanga brings to 32, the total number of foreign truck drivers blocked from getting into the country since Monday. Out of the 32, 30 are Tanzanian nationals.

The Ministry of Health reported that three of the 22 new cases confirmed in the country Wednesday were Kenyan truck drivers.

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The total number of cases in Kenya now stands at 737.

Four more people died bringing total fatalities to 40. On a positive note, 22 more recoveries were reported, bringing the total number of Covid-19 patients discharged from hospital to 281.

Out of the new confirmed cases, 10 are from Nairobi, eight in Mombasa, three in Kajiado (Namanga border) and one in Bomet counties.

The Bomet case now brings to 20 the number of counties where infections have been reported.

The plan to increase the testing capacity at the Kenya-Tanzania border follows reports of increased coronavirus cases there, undermining the country’s effort to contain the virus.

“The new mobile laboratory will address the snarl-up at the border and ensure the seamless movement of cargo from Tanzania to Kenya, and vice-versa,” Ministry of Health director-general Patrick Amoth.

The confirmed cases follow the analyses of 1,516 tests over the last 24 hours.

The ministry while confirming the arrival of more testing kits said it was planning to resume testing in Kawangware, Eastleigh, Old Town and other regions that are emerging as high-risk.

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