Tharaka-Nithi on Friday became the 43rd county to report a case of the coronavirus, Governor Muthomi Njuki saying the patient was found at his home after mass testing.
In a press statement, Governor Muthomi Njuki said the 65-year-old man was one of the 389 new patients that Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe announced on Friday.
Mr Njuki said the patient had been staying with his family in a village in the county.
“We sent 45 samples to Nairobi for screening. One tested positive,” he said, adding the man was taken to an isolation centre amid the tracing of his contacts.
While noting that the patient interacted with many people as he moved around, he asked those who interacted with him to volunteer to undergo the test.
Governor Njuki said the county is prepared to handle Covid-19 cases and has 234 isolation beds, out of a target of at least 330.
He urged residents to remain vigilant because the virus may spread faster in villages than in towns as most of the people there are not cautious.
Mr Njuki also asked residents to continue wearing face masks, keeping social distance and washing or sanitising their hands frequently to reduce their chances of contracting Covid-19.
In Mandera County on Friday, Governor Ali Roba reported the county’s first death – a business based in Mandera town.
“Our people are in panic mode so we called this presser to clarify a few issues. Covid-19 is a reality. It is here and is impacting the lives of our people. This is a call to action … we must exercise care,” Mr Roba told reporters.
He said the county response team on Tuesday received a report of three adults experiencing difficulty breathing. One was at a local private facility and the others at home.
“Our rapid response team visited the private facility to check on the patient and took samples for Covid-19 testing. Our medical team advised the facility management to exercise Covid-19 precautionary measures until the results were out,” he said.
He said the businessman’s health deteriorated rapidly so he was rushed to Mandera County Referral Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
It is suspected that the 64-year-old got infected at the local market where he interacted with other business people.
The county team took the second person from his home and placed him in an isolation centre but a test found that he did not have the virus.
Governor Roba said the third person had tuberculosis and diabetes conditions and tested positive for the virus so treatments were started.
Mandera has recorded 20 Covid-19 cases – one patient, one death and 18 recoveries.
“We are alarmed that our people have relaxed the rules of preventing this disease and abandoned wearing masks and social distancing. This is not healthy. It will result in more infections,” warned Mr Roba.
“If [rules are] not observed, we are afraid the situation will get out of control. We warn our people that while public spaces like markets and places of prayer including our mosques are open, they have to observe health protocols.”
After recording 18 cases of coronavirus, Mandera flattened the curve and discharged its last patient on June 24.
“We managed to flatten the curve during the lockdown but the country has been opened up and cases are surging nationally. It is expected that we will also get travelers with Covid-19. No one is immune. Let us all take care,” he said.
On a recent announcement by Council of Governors chair Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), that some counties might be forced to impose a lockdown, Mr Roba said a presidential directive would be followed if issued.
The governor noted that Mandera will be able to carry out tests starting next week and therefore know better the extent of local transmission of the virus. Local testing will be enabled with the support of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri).
According to Mr Roba, Mandera stopped testing for Covid-19 mid-June after it became an expensive affair.
“We were spending about Sh700,000 on a chartered plane to collect samples. We did it about six times, which was expensive,” he said.
“Mandera has borne the highest costs of collecting and transporting samples for testing to Nairobi because we had to charter flights. On three occasions we were supported by the Ministry of Health through Amref,” he said.
Regarding the new testing capability, he noted, “It enables timely isolation of those infected and the tracing and quarantining of their contacts. It will help us deploy medical resources and staff more efficiently as we respond to cases.”
Mandera has 306 isolation beds, with 10 for intensive care patients and six for patients in high dependency units.
Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20 – World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.
“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.
“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”
With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.
There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.
Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.
There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.
That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.
South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.
“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.
Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?
Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.
England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.
Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.
Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.
The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.
Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.
South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.
Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.
“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.
But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.
While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.
The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.
First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.
But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.
Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19
Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections
Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.
The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.
Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.
Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.
Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.
More to follow