Next three weeks to determine whether gov’t lifts remaining COVID-19 restrictions

Next three weeks to determine whether gov't lifts remaining COVID-19 restrictions
Health Ministry Director General Dr. Patrick Amoth. PHOTO| COURTESY

The Ministry of Health now says the next three weeks will be critical in determining whether the government will lift the remaining COVID-19 containment measures.

The Ministry’s Director General Dr. Patrick Amoth on Monday said the declining positivity rate witnessed over the past one week is an indication of progress in combating the virus in the country. He, however, maintained that it is still early to declare whether or not the infection curve has been flattened.

“For the past one week or so you have noticed a decreasing positivity rate which as of today stands at 6%. That tells you we are making progress but we have not hit the magical 5% which we need to hit and sustain for two weeks before we can actually say we are flattening the curve,” said Dr. Amoth.

According to Dr. Amoth, the country will need to sustain the positivity rate at 5% for two weeks in order for the Ministry to declare that the curve has been flattened and therefore lift the remaining restrictions.

“So the next three to four weeks will be critical to determine whether we have hit the magical 5% and we sustain that positivity rate in which case we can conclusively say we have flattened the curve and therefore we can be able to lift the remaining measures,” said Dr. Amoth.

Dr. Amoth maintained that the Ministry is still working with the earlier projections that the pandemic could peak between August and September.

“Our projections are in line with what we told you early in March-April that the pandemic will peak in
late August, September. The empirical data you are seeing is pointing to that figure but it is too early to conclusively address this matter at now,” he said.

At the same time, Health Ministry CAS Dr. Rashid Aman explained that over the last one week they have been testing a lower number of samples due to a shortage in testing reagents.

“We have been testing fewer samples compared to previous weeks because of the supply chain and the reagents that we have… We are expecting a consignment of reagents and once that arrives we will go to higher numbers of testing,” said Dr. Aman.

The Ministry of Health on Monday announced that the country has recorded 193 new COVID-19 cases following testing of 3,381 samples; bringing the country’s total caseload to 32,557.

Six more people succumbed to the virus bringing the number of deaths recorded so far to 554 with the number of recoveries rising to 18,895 after 225 patients recovered from the disease.

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