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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