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NAIROBI - Kenya's Heath Ministry says 45 new coronavirus cases have been reported in a single day as the nation takes steps to stop the infection from spreading.
Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe released the figures Tuesday at a news conference in Nairobi. He noted the increase marked a big jump in the eight weeks since the first case came to their attention.
"This of course is the highest number recorded in 24 hours, ever since the first case on the 12th of March. Out of this number 29 are from Nairobi, 11 are from Mombasa while five are from Wajir and one is a foreign national from Somalia. The five from Wajir have a history of recent travel to Mogadishu," he said.
Kenya shares a border with Somalia, which at last count had 756 recorded cases and 35 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus tracking site.
Kenya's Ministry of Health recently announced that it had identified Eastleigh and Kawangware, two of Nairobi's most densely populated neighborhoods, as coronavirus hotspots, as they had recorded cases of community transmission in these areas.
Parts of Mombasa, such as the Old Town area, were also declared hotspots after several residents with no history of travel tested positive for the coronavirus.
The health ministry on Friday began mass testing in the specified areas. The government, however, said Monday that not enough people are coming out for the free testing and warned this poses a threat to efforts to stop the spread of the infection.
"The 29 cases that we have from Nairobi are all from Eastleigh; that means that as we speak, there are 63 cases within the Eastleigh area alone. That tells you then that there is community spread happening within Nairobi specifically in the area of Eastleigh. This comes out as a result of mass testing in that area within the last 24 hours. Kawangware continues also to be an area of concern and there are 24 in that area and then in Mombasa. In Old Town alone we have 39 cases," said Kagwe.
Cases have now been found in at least 25 of Kenya's 47 counties.
While some countries are relaxing coronavirus restrictions, Kenya's government has maintained measures designed to stop the spread of the virus.
Authorities continue to enforce a nationwide nighttime curfew and restrictions on public gatherings and transportation.
Most Kenyans, however, rely on a daily wage in markets or through manual labor, and most are still going to work, despite the dangers of the virus.
The Johns Hopkins University tracking site says Kenya currently has close to 500 confirmed cases with 24 deaths. Kenyan health officials say to date, 182 people have recovered from the infection.