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State deploys Nyumba Kumi in cross-border coronavirus fight

Mutahi Kagwe
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya is banking on the community policing initiative Nyumba Kumi to stem the importation of the coronavirus from the neighbouring countries, as health officials reported 51 new cases, bringing the country’s total to 963.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the initiative will help the government to arrest infected people sneaking into the country across its borders before they can begin spreading the virus locally.

Mr Kagwe observed that a significant number of the recent coronavirus cases reported in Kenya were imports from Tanzania and Somalia.

Counties that have recently reported cases from neighbouring countries include Wajir -- whose 12 out of the 16 cases are all imported from Somalia -- Garissa, Migori and Busia.

Most of the over 40 cases reported in Kajiado County are Kenyan truck drivers with a history of travel from Tanzania.

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“We have increased the Nyumba Kumi activities in all these counties because of our porous borders. What is happening now is that we have told the communities in these areas to be alert and report anyone coming into the country to the authorities,” said Mr Kagwe.

“Nyumba Kumi is a critical unit in the fight against coronavirus because we do not have enough security personnel to cover all areas and follow up on everyone entering the country.”

The Cabinet Secretary reiterated that those crossing into Kenya will only be allowed into the country on condition that they are Covid-19-free.

He called on truck drivers from Tanzania to be patient as officials did the right paperwork to facilitate their entry into the country.

Mr Kagwe also announced 22 more recoveries, bringing the total number of persons discharged to 358. He also noted that 79 percent of the 555 active cases remained asymptomatic.

Nairobi accounts for most of the cases in the country with 490, followed by Mombasa at 331, Kajiado 43, Mandera 18, Kiambu 17 and Wajir 16.

In Nairobi, Eastleigh’s Kamukunji had 104 cases, making it the area with the highest cases in Kenya's capital. Mvita area had the most Covid-19 cases in Mombasa by Tuesday at 186.

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