As lockdown eases, Kenyan doctors warn Covid still lurking

Kenya is reporting a decline in coronavirus cases, and hospital admissions for Covid-19 have fallen sharply, but some frontline health workers say infections are going undetected and could even be rising.

For several weeks, the health ministry has been recording between about 50 and 250 new infections every day, a sudden and considerable slump from highs approaching 900 in just late July.

The government has responded by easing some of the strictest measures imposed to contain the pandemic.

This week, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the reopening of bars, increased capacity for weddings, funerals and religious services, and relaxed an evening curfew in force since March.

In Nairobi, which has recorded more than half of Kenya’s nearly 39,000 official cases, intensive care units bracing for the worst just weeks ago are operating below capacity.

Elijah Ongeri, director of nursing at the private Metropolitan Hospital, said the isolation unit was “almost closed” and the ICU had just two patients.

“From the first week of August, it went down sharply. Everyone experienced the same (thing), it was so sudden. July was so sharp, and suddenly people were not showing up,” he told AFP.

Demand for tests has also plunged, said Ahmed Kalebi, director of one of Nairobi’s main private laboratories, Lancet.

“At the peak, at the beginning of July, we had 1,700 requests per day. Today it’s between 200 and 400,” he said. (AFP | Marion DOUET)

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