CS Magoha dismisses KEMRI’s projection of possible rise in COVID-19 cases


CS Magoha dismisses KEMRI's projection of possible rise in COVID-19 cases
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha in a press briefing on Sunday, April 19, 2020. PHOTO| COURTESY

Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha has downplayed a research by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) that indicated a possible surge in COVID-19 numbers in March.

Magoha says the government has put in place measures to curb the spread of Coronavirus among learners who are in the 3rd week of education calender.

“I’m a top scientist and surgeon. The people I have trained are professors. Since we opened schools we are in the end of the 3rd week. The figures yesterday were 2.3% (infection rate). Do you want me to listen to your politics or listen to facts. By the grace of God the children are masked. How many have you heard have corona,” said Magoha.

Speaking in Mombasa after a two-day tour of the Coast region, where he visited various schools in Taita Taveta, Kilifi and Mombasa counties, the CS said 99% of the learners have reported back to school.

He also said the situation in Kapedo will be dealt with by the security apparatus, before the preparations for the exams begin early next month.

With schools having reopened and Kenya recording a test positivity rate of below 5% consistently in the past two weeks, it may seem the country is bordering a flattened COVID-19 curve. However, KEMRI’s latest projections released this month predict that the impact of schools reopening could only be clear in terms of numbers by mid-February.

“We cannot relax the measures, because of low numbers then experience a spike again,” said CS Kagwe.

KEMRI, through a publication dubbed projections of COVID-19 cases and deaths following schools reopening, projects that the effects of schools re opening could lead to a rise in infections by 13, 700 new cases and 116 new COVID-19 related deaths by June 1st, 2021.

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