Kenya has detected the Indian variant of the novel coronavirus, becoming the second country in the East Africa Community (EAC) to confirm the strain after Uganda.
The Health Ministry confirmed on Wednesday that five cases of the Indian variant were confirmed in Kisumu County.
The five, Acting Director-General of Health Patrick Amoth said, are Indian nationals working on a fertilizer plant in Kisumu.
He added that the cases were reported last Thursday before the government imposed a ban on flights from India.
“This variant has been picked in Kenya and because of connectivity, it was just a matter of time. You cannot be able to put barriers to prevent a virus from accessing your territory,” Amoth said.
“We picked this from a sample of Indian travellers who are doing some work in the western part of Kisumu. We have gone ahead together with the Kisumu county health team to do contact tracing.”
Uganda confirmed its first case of the Indian variant on April 29.
India is reporting a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases and fatalities, raising alarm over the situation in the second-most populous country in the world.
At least 20 million cases and 226,000 deaths have so far been confirmed, with reports indicating that the situation has left hospitals, morgues and crematoriums overwhelmed.
Today, the Ministry of Health announced 489 new Covid-19 cases from 4,426 samples tested in the last 24 hours. The country’s caseload is now at 161,393.
The country’s positivity rate is now at 11%.
Of the new cases, 449 Kenyans and 40 foreigners aged between four months and 102 years old.
Sadly, 20 more patients have succumbed to the virus bringing the country’s cumulative fatalities to 2,825.