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Take no chance! Protect yourself from coronavirus » Capital News

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 13 – With Kenya now in the list of countries with the deadly coronavirus epidemic, we have set out to highlight what you need to do to stay safe.

The first confirmed case of the epidemic was confirmed Friday, on a Kenyan student who travelled in from the US on March 5, according to Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.

The 27-year-old student had been in the US state of Ohio, which authorities said likely has more than 100,000 people carrying the virus.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Symptoms of coronavirus

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.* [according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

Symptoms fever.
Symptoms cough.
symptoms shortness of breath

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

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Take steps to protect yourself

Illustration: washing hands with soap and water

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Illustration: Woman quarantined to her home

Avoid close contact

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Take steps to protect others

man in bed

Stay home if you’re sick

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
woman covering their mouth when coughing

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
man wearing a mask

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick:  You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. 
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
cleaning a counter

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick

Follow the steps below:  If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

man in bed

Stay home except to get medical care

  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
  • Avoid public areas:Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
family separated

Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.

Information for Household Members and Caregivers of Someone who is Sick

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on the phone with doctor

Call ahead before visiting your doctor

  • Call ahead: If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
man wearing a mask

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  • If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with the person who is sick should not stay in the same room with them, or they should wear a facemask if they enter a room with the person who is sick.
woman covering their mouth when coughing

Cover your coughs and sneezes

  • Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined trash can.
  • Wash hands: Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
washing hands

Clean your hands often

  • Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Soap and water: Soap and water are the best option if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Handwashing Tips

don't share

Avoid sharing personal household items

  • Do not share: You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.
  • Wash thoroughly after use: After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
cleaning a counter

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

  • Clean and disinfect: Practice routine cleaning of high touch surfaces.

High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

  • Disinfect areas with bodily fluids: Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
  • Household cleaners: Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Complete disinfection guidance

taking temperature

Monitor your symptoms

  • Seek medical attention: Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).
  • Call your doctor: Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.
  • Wear a facemask when sick: Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.
  • Alert health department: Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.

alert icon

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.

father playing with his son

Discontinuing home isolation

  • Stay at home until instructed to leave: Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider: The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.

About the virus

If the virus is exposed to a temperature of 26-27 degrees Celsius, it will be killed.

What measures has the Kenya Government?

-All public meetings or gatherings suspended.

-Inter-school events suspended, but the school program will continue.

-Public transport providers have been directed to provide hand sanitizers for their clients and regular cleaning of the vehicles.

-Temporary suspension of prison visits for the next 30 days.

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Kenya: What Kenya Must Look Out for Before Easing COVID-19 Restrictions

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Kenya’s initial response to COVID-19 was highly praised as effective in suppressing the spread of infections. There is cautious optimism as the country prepares for reopening of schools and economy due to a daily spike in cases and fatalities.

The implementation of public health measures included social distancing and hygiene practices. And a number of non-pharmaceutical interventions were implemented early on. These included the closure of educational institutions and restaurants, the restriction of transport movements, border controls, suspension of international flights, night curfews, intermittent lockdowns and use of face masks in public.

Combined these interventions had a substantial impact in limiting the community transmission of COVID-19. They reduced the potential of human to human transmission since the intensity of interaction reduced overall infections.

The overall impact of curbing the spread of infections has been the key goal. But there is still a need to include economic safety nets to cushion the poor and vulnerable populations while providing security.

And the country has to carefully consider its next steps. There are number of preconditions that need to be met before it should start easing the current restrictions.

Steps to be taken before lifting restrictions

Firstly, there is need for evidence that the virus is being suppressed. This will show that there’s been a plateauing of the epidemic curve. A two week steady decline in the number of newly detected cases would be indicative of limited community transmission.

This downward trajectory – or near zero incidence of documented COVID-19 cases – would need to be accompanied by a decrease in patient visiting hospitals with influenza like illnesses.

Secondly, the government must ensure that there’s robust public health capacity system in place. This would include the ability to detect, test, track, isolate and quarantine cases and quickly contain the epidemic. There are efforts to recruit 5000 additional health care workers to support in response to the epidemic. Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) shortages for healthcare workers should be addressed.

The health system capacity should be able to contain the virus and treat all new cases with the human and technological capacity to mitigate increased transmission. There are notable efforts in investing in the state of the art diagnostic laboratories. These have high throughput potential for detection of high impact pathogens and can rapidly respond to public health emergencies of international concern.

Thirdly, to reopen or restart the economy is a long-term process. It needs to be done sequentially. A multisectoral and consultative forward-looking approach needs to be adopted. The main aim must be to protect citizens’ health, as well as mitigage the worst effects on the economy.

Fourthly, Kenya must remember that there isn’t a “one-size fits all” approach that countries can copy. The country should keenly watch and learn from countries that have started lifting social distancing restrictions. And be ready to reimpose restrictions if, as happened in South Korea and France, a second wave of cases were reported.

Fifthly, the government must consider the fact that people are becoming more anxious. This suggests that reopening should not be hurried and should not be done in a prescriptive way. Room must be left for flexibility.

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Sixth, steps need to be taken so that workplaces can make the various readjustments to maintain high hygiene standards. And the use of facemasks and sanitisers should be sustained in some places that are high risk.

Lastly, a robust targeted testing regime that will employ a mobile app based surveillance for reliable contact tracing should be rolled out nationally.

School closures have been effective in enhancing community-level social distancing and reducing the peak incidence of infections. In turn this has lessened the pressure on health services. Going forward, a staggered reopening of educational institutions is highly recommended where the arrival and drop-off times or locations of pooled bus transport should be monitored to limit direct contact with parents and employees.

The role of science