Roundup: Kenya's containment measures to sustain as COVID-19 cases rise

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NAIROBI, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's COVID-19 cases are creeping towards the 1,000 mark, with the rising infections jolting citizens into a reality that they have to sustain containment measures.

Kenya on Tuesday recorded 51 more cases, pushing the total tally to 963.

The rise in cases means that the disease is active and spreading in the community, according to Patrick Amoth, the director-general at Kenya's Ministry of Health.

Kenyans had seemingly started to drop the ball when it comes to following the containment measures, which include washing hands, maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.

Some citizens, however, especially at open-air markets, have been wearing masks below their chin thus failing to cover their mouths and noses.

One of the things that had led to this was the failure of the country to hit the infection target of 10,000 by the end of April as forecasted by the Ministry of Health.

Citizens had also misunderstood the government's move to reopen restaurants and hotels under strict rules, a move many misconstrued as normalcy had returned.

A move to reconsider the reopening of schools had also sent the wrong signal among the citizen, with thousands of citizens having expected that President Uhuru Kenyatta would lift the curfew and unlock the capital and other five counties.

But the rising COVID-19 cases across the east African nation have shocked citizens since most of them involve Kenyans who have no history of travel -- unlike in the beginning.

"I was among the proponents of the lifting the dusk to dawn curfew because it has killed the business, but with the rising cases, the government is right in extending the restriction," motorbike taxi rider David Kimani, a resident of Kitengela south of Nairobi, said on Tuesday, capturing sentiments of hundreds of people in the informal sector.

The industry, together with that of commuter buses commonly known as matatus, were identified as high-risk due to the nature of the businesses.

The Kenyan government prescribed various measures for the transport sector, including wearing a mask and carrying a limited number of passengers, but rules had started flouting. Meanwhile, some parents in Kenya had also started to become jittery as the crisis drags on.

The rising COVID-19 cases have, however, changed their perspective of the crisis, with many noting that students may not be safe in school as the infections rise.

"We are approaching 1,000 cases yet the curve seems far from being flattened. This means we are in the early stages of the disease cycle thus we should not be thinking about schools opening at this stage but how to stop the infections," said government auditor Victoria Selima, whose niece is expected to sit for class eight exit exam in November.

Dozens of other Kenyans had the same views as the cases accelerate at an alarming rate in the community.

At least 25 counties have been affected by the disease, which spread from Nairobi, the capital, and the coastal city of Mombasa, with the worst-hit currently being those at the border with neighboring countries.

Kenya curtailed the movement of people in and out of Nairobi alongside four other counties to curb the spread of the disease, a measure the Ministry of Health notes has worked.

Health secretary Mutahi Kagwe said that the country is registering high cases because of targeted testing.

"We have moved to hotspots and we are testing people to avoid wastefulness. This is the reason numbers are rising," he said.

He added that the war is not won yet thus Kenyans must be patient and continue with containment measures.

"People have been taking measures seriously and because of cooperation, the country is making progress but this war is far from over," he said. Enditem

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