Kenya’s health ministry have relaxed the restrictions on burials of people who died from coronavirus (COVID-19), allowing families to play active roles in the final rites.
For the last six months, public health wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) has buried those who have succumbed to the coronavirus. But health officials now say that bodies of Covid-19 victims do not transmit the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and Africa CDC have not stated whether a corpse can transmit Covid-19, but have updated burial protocols to allow families to give their loved a decent send-off.
Under Kenya’s revised measures, health officials will only be present in burials to guide the process and ensure safety.
“They will also allow any safe burial rites as may be dictated by the religion and or culture of the deceased person,” Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi told journalists on Tuesday.
The government admitted last month that previous burial restrictions were extreme.
The move brings the country’s burial practices in line with World Health Organization guidelines.
The WHO has said that the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 when handling the remains of someone who had the virus is low, but has encouraged the use of PPE when handling bodies if there is a risk of splashes from the body fluids or secretions.
WHO guidelines issued earlier this month state: “Those tasked with placing the body in the grave, on the funeral pyre, et cetera, should wear gloves and wash their hands with soap and water after removal of the gloves once the burial is complete.” They do not call for family members and friends to be excluded from the burial process but encourage the observance of local protocols on the number of people that can attend the ceremony.
“The families will take the centre stage in the ceremonies, with health officials only guiding the process. They will also allow safe burial rites dictated by religion or culture of the deceased person,” Nation reported health secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi said.
As of Tuesday, Kenya had 659 COVID-19 deaths, according to figures released by the ministry of health. The country has had 37, 218 confirmed cases of the virus, and 24, 147 people have recovered from COVID-19
Nigeria Records Four New COVID-19 Deaths
The Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) said four COVID-19 related deaths and 147 new infections were recorded in the country from 11 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The NCDC made this known via its verified wedsite on Wednesday.
The country has so far tested 617,750 persons since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The public health agency said that 179 COVID-19 patients were discharged from isolation centers across the country in the last 24 hours.
It added that the 179 discharged today include 116 community recoveries in Lagos State, managed in line with new case management guidelines.
The NCDC stated that Lagos accounted for the highest number of infections with 82 cases, while FCT confirmed 20 cases, Rivers had 9 cases and Kaduna and Plateau states reported 8 cases each.
Amongst others were Benue with 5 infections, Edo, Kano, Nasarawa and Taraba reported 3 cases each, Ogun had 2 infections and Bauchi had 1 infections.
“Till date, 62,371 cases have been confirmed, 58,095 cases have been discharged and 1,139 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and FCT,” it stated.
Liberia Receives 15 Ambulances from World Bank to Fight COVID-19
Liberia’s health ministry has, once again, received 15 new hard top Land Cruisers ambulances from the World Bank to ensure the safe transfer of patients to health facilities across the Country.
The donation was made on Friday, October 23, 2020, at the Ministry’s office in Congo Town. The 15 ambulances are great milestones for the ministry and government.
Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, in a statement, thanked the World Bank for continuously contributing to the Country’s health sector.
He said, “On behalf of my Boss, H.E. Dr George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, MOH, IMS and all those who have been participating in the COIVD-19 response, I want to say thank for this donation.
“These ambulances were purchased under the COVID-19 response to be used by MOH, not only to transport COVID-19 patients but, to enable us strengthen routine care for our people. We want to thank the World Bank and our local team for all the work that they did collaboratively to have made these ambulances reached.
“I want to thank UNOPS for the delivery and even taking on the responsibility to procure these ambulances under the World Bank project. I want to turn these keys over to the administration, which will later be turned over to the Transport Department.
“We are going to monitor all of these ambulances and make sure they are all use for the intended. Your contribution to this Government is something that cannot be overemphasized. We are proud of this donation, and we will ensure that these items reach their intended beneficiaries.”
Dr. Jallah said the distribution of the donation made is expected to commence within the soonest possible time.
“We will soon start the distribution of these ambulances to our needed counties once all modalities are worked out,” she said.
Jallah called on Liberians to continuously follow all health protocols prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and health authorities in the country for their safety.
He said, “We should not forget that the virus in the Country. Please let’s continuously follow all of the health measures prescribed by WHO and health authorities in the country to avoid further spread of the virus. Thanks for all the work that you do for us intense of keeping us strict as we all embark on keeping Liberia save.”
Meanwhile, the Project Manager of World Bank to Liberia, Mr. Mathew Flomo, disclosed that the donation is in fulfillment of a promise made to the Ministry in early August this year to procure 15 additional vehicles (ambulances) to heighten the Country’s fight against the pandemic, which according to him is World Bank’s goal to curtail further spread of the deadly pandemic.
“Madam Minister, this donation is in fulfilment of a promise made by the World Bank to beef up the Ministry’s fight against the virus. Therefore, I am pleased to turn over these vehicles to the government through your Ministry to enhance the fight against the virus. We hope that together we can end this global health crisis,” he said.
After the novel coronavirus pandemic first case in Liberia was reported on March 16, 2020, the Ministry of Health and the Government of Liberia obtained funds from the World Bank to support Liberia’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Project.
The project intends to support the MOH with essential equipment including vehicles (ambulances) that are required for use by the Ministry and other frontline agencies involved in the response.
The 15 ambulances were strategically and durably procured by UNOPS through the World Bank.
This donation is aimed at equipping the Ministry with the needed logistics to effectively follow the outbreak of COVID-19 promptly.
Since the outbreak of the virus in the country, this is the third time the World Bank has made such a huge donation to the Country through the Ministry. In July and August this year, the Financial body donated 20 ventilators (in addition to the 4 ventilators government had in Country) and 10 hardtop ambulances to boost Liberia’s preparedness in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. As it stands, the World Bank has donated 25 ambulances donated in total.
Kenya Sees ‘Dramatic Rise’ In COVID-19 Cases – WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) says Kenya has witnessed what it calls a dramatic rise in new coronavirus (Covid-19) infections over the last month.
The East African country has seen a recent resurgence of new virus cases following an easing of restrictions that lasted months. The Kenyan government allowed schools to reopen partially, eased a nighttime curfew and also lifted lockdowns that had been imposed on high-risk regions including the capital, Nairobi.
The WHO says the country reported 4,594 new cases in the past week – up 51% on the previous week.
In the same period, Kenya registered the third-highest virus deaths in Africa. Its 71 deaths are only eclipsed by Ethiopia (73) and South Africa (536).
“It is just shy of its previous peak at the end of July when there were 4,700 new cases – although deaths have increased at a much lower rate (9%),” the WHO says.
Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe warned recently that the country could be headed for a second surge.
The data shows that the proportion of people testing positive has started rising – up from below 5% in mid-September to more than 10% over the past week – and this does not appear to be down to any changes in testing strategy.
The rise does follow the easing of restrictions, among them the reopening of bars, the removal of a ban on sale of alcohol in restaurants and eateries and a reduction in overnight curfew hours at the end of September.
Also, teaching in some school classes resumed in mid–October.
Over the past week, Kenya recorded the second-highest number of new cases in the WHO Africa region excluding Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia.
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