As the country’s Covid-19 infections continue to decline, Kenyans are letting their guard down in the fight against the virus.
In October, President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted the countrywide curfew, but asked Kenyans to adhere to other rules set by the government to curb the spread of the virus.
Kenyans are still required to observe social distancing, wear face masks in public places, and wash hands or use sanitiser. However, many are hardly taking any of the protective measures mentioned.
And now, experts are calling on the government to stop mandatory wearing of face masks and let Kenyans decide if they want to wear them.
Amref Africa chief executive Githinji Gitahi, who is also part of the African Covid-19 Response Commission, said the only way to protect Kenyans is by enhancing vaccinations. As at yesterday, over 14 million Kenyans had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“We can remove the mandatory masks and let people make their own judgement on whether to wear a mask or not,” he said.
He further advised that, if the number of infections increased after the dropping of masks, then the government can re-impose the rule.
“The government should continue testing and monitoring as we prepare for an endemic phase of the virus,” he added.
Endemic describes a disease that is present at an almost constant level within a society or country. His sentiments were echoed by Dr Ahmed Kalebi, a consultant pathologist, who says the government should lift the remaining restrictions.
He further noted that it was important to get vaccinated against the virus and take precautions during the cold and rainy seasons.
“Already, the epidemiological curve of Covid-19 in the country indicates that it has settled into a seasonal pattern and, in the future, Sars-Cov-2 will fluctuate seasonally with the other flu-like respiratory viruses rising in March, July, and November,” Dr Kalebi said. The positivity rate has declined over the past two weeks to below five percent.
The World Health Organization’s threshold for a flattened curve is a positivity rate of less than five percent for two weeks.
However, Dr Willis Akhwale, the Ministry of Health chairman of the Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Task Force, asked Kenyans not to relent even with the recorded low positivity rate because this does not mean the end of the virus.
“It is too early to drop our guard on Covid-19 and we should learn from the previous waves recorded in the country. We have had times when low positivity rate was followed by high positivity rate,” Dr Akhwale said.
As the country heads to the rainy season in March, Dr Akhwale said, Kenyans should adhere to Covid-19 guidelines because the virus tends to peak during the cold seasons.
“If you look at the last two years of Covid-19, most of the waves have been in March and during the cold or rainy seasons,” he said.
The United Kingdom, Italy and New York and Illinois states in the United States are among jurisdictions that have dropped the masks mandates as most of their populations are inoculated against Covid-19.
Sourced from Nation