Kenya confirms 31 new COVID-19 cases, bringing total to 1,192

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NAIROBI, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday confirmed additional 31 COVID-19 cases that tested positive in the last 24 hours, bringing the national total to 1,192.

Kenyatta said that the cases were discovered by medical personnel after testing 2,576 samples, bringing the total samples that have been tested to 57,650 since the pandemic was reported in the country on March 13.

"The Coronavirus pandemic will continue undermining our efforts to revitalize the economy for the unforeseeable future. The rate of infections may surge upwards if we fail to comply with the protocols issued by the Ministry of Health," Kenyatta said during a televised address.

He said that no deaths were reported during the last 24 hours, adding that overall fatalities in the country still stood at 50.

The Kenyan leader urged members of the public to heed the call from medical personnel and conduct themselves with the responsibility to avert further transmission of the viral respiratory disease.

Kenyatta said that to combat the effects of the economic downturn, the government planned to hire an additional 5,000 healthcare workers for a period of one year.

"This COVID-19 pandemic is not only a health crisis, it is fundamentally an economic crisis. Jobs have been lost, businesses have closed and the economy is on a go-slow," said Kenyatta.

The traders in Kenya are the most affected by lack of cash flow during the COVID-19 lockdown, forcing most of them to renegotiate loan repayments with banks, head of the Central Bank of Kenya said on Friday.

"The value of loans that Kenyans have renegotiated is 9.6 percent of the entire banking sector loan book," said Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The trading sector now accounts for 26 percent of the total value of all loans that have been renegotiated with banks in the month of April. Other sectors experiencing significant lack of business include real estate at 18.6 percent, tourism and manufacturing each accounting for 13.6 percent of all loans that have been renegotiated, according to the data released by the CBK.

Nearly all commercial banks in Kenya have started renegotiating loan terms with clients to restructure terms of repayment in the face of lockdown that has meant the closure of some businesses.

Kenya has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew, partially locked down five counties and closed its borders with neighboring Somalia and Tanzania as part of anti-COVID-19 containment measures. Enditem

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