Health officials in Kenya say they’re seeing a spike in COVID-19 infections that is placing a strain on resources, even as the country continues to roll out its vaccination plans.
“The Ministry of Health Kenya is extremely concerned with the number of rising cases of those contracting the coronavirus disease in the country,” said the agency in a social media message on Friday. “Yesterday we recorded a positivity rate of 17 percent. Today it has gone up as we have recorded a 17.5 percent positivity rate.”
It’s the highest COVID positivity rate in Kenya since the coronavirus outbreak began in China in December 2019, the ministry said.
“It’s bad. All hospitals in Nairobi are now having a waiting list for ICU and COVID-19 isolation beds with oxygen,” said Dr. Ahmed Kalebi, a pathologist based in the city.
Mutahi Kagwe, the Kenyan health minister, said his nation plans to prioritize vaccines for elders because nearly two-thirds of fatalities are in those 60 or older. There were 1,994 COVID deaths as of Saturday.
That decision comes amid criticism over Kenya’s plans to offer vaccines to foreign diplomats and dignitaries instead of its own population, and ongoing accusations of corruption.
Kenya has some 1.2 million doses of vaccine, most of it the Astra Zeneca product acquired through the global COVAX agreement. The government says health workers, teachers, security forces and other frontline workers are already receiving their vaccines.
Image: Kenya Ministry of Health