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Sept peak dims virus restrictions ease hope

fumigation at Nyayo Estate in Embakasi
A volunteer during fumigation at Nyayo Estate in Embakasi, Nairobi on May 2, 2020. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG 

Coronavirus infections in Kenya are expected to grow exponentially over the next few months, hitting the peak in September when health officials expect to report about 200 cases a day.

The latest forecast by the Ministry of Health comes against the backdrop of a surge in infections that saw 80 new cases confirmed on Thursday, the highest recorded in a single day.

Projections of the virus peaking in September also dampen hopes of a fast-tracked easing of the current restrictions on movement and social distancing rules that have slowed down the economy and prompted the closure of schools and religious gatherings.

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.

Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate and Mombasa’s Old Town area are in lockdowns.

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The Ministry of Health modelling team had predicted a peak in April based on the worst case-scenario and if the government had failed to take any containment measures.

But Health Services director-general Patrick Amoth told a media briefing in Nairobi yesterday that Kenya is expected to report about 200 a day based on the current growth in the number of coronavirus.

“When we predicted a peak in April. It was based on the worst case-scenario, but remember we closed schools, imposed a curfew and we restricted movement in Nairobi and Mombasa,” said Dr Amoth.

“All these have led to a smoother curve rather than a peak which would have come earlier. We project that our peak will be in August or September where we will be reporting 200 cases a day if we continue the measures we have put in place,” said Dr Amoth.

Kenya’s cases now stand at 1,109 while recoveries are 375 after nine more persons were discharged.

The exponential growth of positive cases follows the increased testing over the last few days. A total of 3,102 cases were tested yesterday, the highest number ever sampled since the first Covid-19 case was confirmed in the country on March 13.

The ministry also noted that people travelling from the country’s coronavirus hotspots to other regions were posing the greatest challenge to the containment of the viral infection while calling on Kenyans to continue observing the recommended public health measures.

Out of the 80 Covid-19 cases confirmed Thursday, seven were in Siaya and had travelled from Nairobi’s Kibera slum. The group had gone to Ugenya in Siaya to attend a burial.

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