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COVID-19: Kenya Variant Found



Researchers at Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) has discovered a new variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that is unique only to the East African nation.

The variant, unique to Kenya, had been detected in the south-east of the country following a study done between June and October, Kemri said.

The variant, unlike South Africa and the UK variants which has eight and nine changes respectively, has one change.

Kemri principal researcher, Dr Charles Agoti, however, described the change has significant.

He added, “We are resisting calling this a new variant because it doesn’t have many changes.”

More research needed to be done to asses the impact of the variant, it added.

It is perfectly normal for viruses to mutate, scientists say.

Kenya has so far recorded nearly 100,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 1,700 deaths.

Meanwhile, the faster-spreading South African variant has been detected in three African states – neighbouring Botswana, Zambia and The Gambia in West Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO has said.

Africa has now topped three million Covid-19 cases, and daily case numbers were exceeding the first wave peak, it said.

An average of 25,223 cases were reported each day between 28 December 2020 and 10 January 2021 in Africa, which is nearly 39% higher than the July 2020 two-week peak of 18,104 daily average cases, the WHO said.

“Revamped public health measures are ever more critical to avert a runaway surge in infections that could stretch health facilities to the breaking point,” it added.

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Lagos Tests 285,948 COVID-19 Samples in Nigeria



Authorities in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital, say no fewer than 285, 948 samples have been tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease since inception.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, on Wednesday, made the disclosure through his verified Twitter account @ProfAkinAbayomi, while giving the state’s COVID-19 update for Jan. 17.

The commissioner said that 285,948 total samples were tested, out of which 263,358 were valid.

He said that the remaining 22,590 were repeat tested samples.

According to him, 41,374 of the tested samples were diagnosed positive for COVID-19.

“There were 21 accredited private and four public laboratories in the state. 143,634 samples were processed in public laboratories and 142,314 samples processed in private laboratories.

“The volume of samples tested by private laboratories has increased to 50 per cent, almost equalling the volume tested by public laboratories.

“Seven hundred and seventy-six new COVID-19 infections were confirmed in the state on the reported date, increasing the state’s total COVID-19 infections to 41,374,” he said.

According to him, 3,209 COVID-19 patients who have been successfully treated and recovered were discharged from the state’s care centres.

“Total number of #COVID19 recovery in communities are 28, 452.

“Cases currently under isolation- 223 active cases under home based care are 9,213,” Abayomi said.

The commissioner also disclosed that the state recorded another two COVID-19 related fatalities, increasing the COVID-19 deaths in the state to 277.

He said bed occupancy at the state’s public and private COVID-19 care centres had risen to 70 per cent.

Abayomi said that two isolation centres, Gbagada and Amuwo II, would soon be activated to create more bed spaces for patients.

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Kenya is Being Prepared for COVID-19 Vaccine Roll Out – Raab



UK’s First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Dominic Raab, says Britain is helping Kenya to prepare to roll out the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine from next month.

“It is for us not just our moral duty, but in the British national interest to see Kenyans vaccinated just as soon as we physically, logistically can,” Raab, who is on a one-day working visit to Kenya.

On January 7, Kenya’s Minister of Health, Mutahi Kagwe, had revealed that the country ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine developed by Astrazeneca and Oxford University.

Kagwe said the vaccines were ordered through an African Union (AU) initiative.

Raab said Britain will provide technical assistance to Kenya’s health ministry to help ensure the vaccine gets to everyone.

Kenya has a population of about 48 million, according to a 2019 population census. It has so far confirmed 99,308 coronavirus cases and 1,130,707 tests.

There have been 82,478 recoveries and 1,734 deaths.

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Nigeria Records 1,301 New COVID-19 Infections, 15 Deaths



Nigeria recorded no fewer than 1,301 new coronavirus (COVID-19) infections and 15 fatalities due to complications from the diseases in 24 hours.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in a statement on its website, said total confirmed cases nationwide rose to 113,305 between Monday and Tuesday.

The NCDC disclosed figures on Tuesday on its official website.

1,191,866 people have so far been tested since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded in the country on Feb. 27, 2020.

The public health agency said that 1,261 patients had been discharged from isolation centres after testing negative to the virus.

The NCDC noted that the discharges included 702 community recoveries in Lagos State, 157 in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and 143 in Plateau.

“So far a total of 91,200 patients have been discharged following their recovery from COVID-19,” NCDC said.

It reported 15 COVID-19-related deaths in the last 24 hours across the country.

The Nigeria’s public health agency said that the new cases were recorded in 21 states and the FCT in the last 24 hours.

It, however, said that a total of 1,464 patients died from the disease.

NCDC said that Lagos recorded the highest number of new cases with 551, followed by the FCT 209, Oyo State 83 and Plateau State 65.

Other states were Kaduna (64), Enugu (61), Rivers (44), Ondo (39), Benue (37), Akwa Ibom (31), Kano (19), Delta (18), Gombe (18), Ogun (16), Edo (15), Kebbi (10), Ebonyi (nine), Jigawa (four), Osun and Zamfara three each, Borno and Nasarawa, one each.

The NCDC said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) activated at Level 3, is coordinating response activities nationwide.

Meanwhile, the agency urged the public to stem the rate of infection by avoiding close contact, wearing cloth face masks in public places and practising good hygiene.

“Avoid close contact. This means avoiding close contact within about six feet, or two meters with anyone who is sick or has symptoms.

“ Also, keep distance between yourself and others. This is especially important if you have a higher risk of serious illness.

“Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you are sick. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily.

“Stay home from work, school and public areas if you are sick, unless you are going to get medical care. Avoid public transportation, taxis and ride-sharing if you’re sick.

“If you have a chronic medical condition and may have a higher risk of serious illness, check with your doctor about other ways to protect yourself,” it advised.

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