Sierra Leone telegraph: 22 May 2020:
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank, today approved an €188 million loan to support the Government of Kenya’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate the related economic, health and social impacts.
The loan will extend additional resources to Kenya as the country takes steps to contain the spread of the pandemic and deal with its unprecedented impact. It follows a request by the Government of Kenya, as part of its COVID-19 Emergency Response intervention, to help contain the scourge.
The Bank’s support will strengthen the national health system to effectively respond to the pandemic, build economic resilience and ensure quick recovery. The Bank’s intervention will also be used to support the poor and vulnerable people who have been negatively affected by the pandemic.
“We are very pleased to join other development partners in supporting the Government of Kenya’s efforts in mitigating the financial impact of the pandemic, especially in terms of the country’s expenditure in the health, social and economic sectors. The next step will focus on helping build resilience for post COVID-19,” the Bank’s Acting Director General for East Africa, Nnenna Nwabufo, noted.
Since Kenya’s first COVID-19 infection was confirmed on 12 March 2020, cases have risen to over 1,000, while the number of recoveries and deaths are 375 and 50, respectively, as of 22 May 2020. The pandemic is placing significant pressure on an already stretched healthcare system. It has disrupted supply chains and caused job losses in the tourism, hospitality, horticulture and airline industries, among others.
In addition, informal and self-employed workers have also lost their livelihoods due to the impact of the pandemic.
The government’s response to the pandemic has been swift and multi-faceted, covering a range of measures including health-related containment measures, protection of the poor and vulnerable, provision of support to local businesses and to sustaining jobs. The Bank’s intervention, through the COVID-19 Emergency Response Support Program, is designed to support these measures.
As a result of demand and supply shocks, Kenya’s real GDP growth is projected to fall to between 0.6 and 1.4 percent from the initial 2020 projection of 6 percent.
In April, the Bank extended an emergency grant to help countries in the East and Horn of Africa, including Kenya, that are contending with swarms of locusts that are threatening food security. Kenya is facing its worst swarms in 70 years. In Ethiopia and Somalia, the outbreak is the worst in 25 years.
In another development, Kenya has today recorded a higher number of coronavirus cases shooting the total infections to 1,029. The 66 cases were announced today by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, from 2621 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
To contain the spread of the virus further, the National Emergency Response Team has extended cessation of movement in and out of Eastleigh in Nairobi and Old town in Mombasa until the 6th of June.
“We have observed with concern the highest number of cases today,” said the CS said adding that malls, eateries and restaurants in the said two places will also remain closed and no hawking ias well.
Out of the 66 positive cases 64 are Kenyans, one case is of a Rwandese national and another one is a Somali, aged between 10 and 64 years, 43 are males and 23 are female.
He also noted that six people who recovered have been discharged and no death has been reported so far.
Despite the growing infections, the CS noted that the country has been able to keep the case fatality at 5.6 percent against the global average of 6.6 percent .
Mombasa has 30 cases, Nairobi has 26, Kajiado has 3 while Nakuru, Busia, Kisii, Meru, Kirinyaga, Makueni and Uasin Gishu counties have recorded one case each. In Mombasa the cases are distributed in the Likoni 10, Kisauni 8, Changamwe 3, Nyali 3, Jomvu 3 and Mvita 3. In Nairobi, the new cases were recorded in Kibra 15, Langata 3, Starehe 2, Dagoretti 2, Westlands, Eastleigh, Mathare and Dandora have one case each..
Meanwhile, the Country has acquired two mobile laboratories and testing kits from Germany to help fight Covid-19 at the namanga border point and also Naivasha dry port.
The CS received the donation today form the German government through the EAC. “The EAC secretariat has overseen the procurement of mobile lab units, training of laboratory experts to operationalize these units and are scheduled to cascade knowledge transfer in order to build a critical mass of scientists across the country,” he said.
He added that the government recognizes truck drivers and their counterparts in the transport industry for their continued support to ensure adequate supplies of goods across the East African countries and for enduring long journey and waiting times at border points as each country tries to be vigilant in their containment measures against COVID.
To address these challenges, the CS said the country has put in measures to ensure that the truck drivers are tested on time prior to their journey and receive a repeat test 14 days later.
“The mobile labs are equipped with modern equipment such as PCR and ELISA machines that are able to diagnose most pathogens causing communicable diseases such as Ebola and COVID 19. I am aware they have a combined capacity to support 2,000 tests per day and couldn’t have come at a better time to complement existing laboratory network,” he added.
Kagwe thanked the Germany Development Bank for availing finances for the project, the Bernardt Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine (BNITM) for their technical assistance, the Ministry of East Africa Community (EAC) for coordination and the EAC Secretariat who have worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this project.