Kenya Confirms Third Wave of COVID-19
The daily new COVID-19 cases in Kenya, reaching over 550 on 11 March.

Kenya has officially announced a third wave of the COVID-19 outbreak this week, while the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Africa region reported a “slight uptick in cases and an upward trend in 12 countries, including in Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Cameroon.”

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, during the weekly press conference said there was an upward trend in some countries. 

On Friday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta tightened up the country’s COVID-19 measures, extending the 9pm curfew and decreeing that bars and restaurants close by 9pm.

Kenya recorded 713 new cases and 12 deaths on Wednesday, a record number since the start of this year. The positivity rate is up to 14% since November last year and the country’s total official death toll is 1,898. The Africa CDC reported a 13% average increase in deaths for Kenya for this week’s COVID-19 epidemiology update.  

Mutahi Kagwe, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, said there had been an increase in the number of patients on ventilators and in need of oxygen and warned that the situation could worsen. 

“We are about to start another difficult period, but we can also overcome this period. It has taken a toll on us over the past year, and it is at this time that we can’t let our guard down,“ Kagwe stressed.

Meanwhile Raila Odinga, the leader of opposition in Kenya is being treated with COVID-19 in Nairobi Hospital, according to a statement from his doctor.  

Kenya’s health ministry established a National COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Task Force this week to guide the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, including regulation and safety monitoring, financing, procurement and logistics.

This week the Kenyan Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) condemned the statement by the Kenyan Catholic Doctors’ Association that COVID-19 vaccines were “totally unnecessary.” The KCCB said in a statement on Tuesday that the association did not speak for the Catholic Church, and encouraged all Kenyans to accept the vaccine.

Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC) director John Nkengasong told last week’s WHO Africa briefing that “we are beginning to see the beginning of a third wave in East Africa.”

The WHO warned that Africa is poised to surpass 4 million COVID-19 infections this week since the continent’s first confirmed case in February 2020, but described the arrival of vaccines in the continent over the past two weeks via COVAX as a “crucial boost.”

More than 14.6 million vaccine doses have been delivered to 22 African countries since 24 February through COVAX, a global vaccine effort co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the WHO.

“While deaths reported have dropped by more than 50% over the past 28 days compared with the previous 28 days, the case fatality ratio or the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases is at 3.6% for the past 28 days. This is higher than the global average,” warned the WHO Africa.

Image Credits: Twitter: @WHOKenya, Our World in Data.

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