A 66-year-old Kenyan man, who was diagnosed with coronavirus, has died.
The patient died at the Aga Khan Hospital Thursday afternoon (March 26), where he was placed at the intensive care unit, says Health minister Mutahi Kagwe.
“The man who was suffering from diabetes had arrived in the country on March 13 from South Africa via Swaziland,” reads a part of a press statement issued by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.
“My condolences to the family,” added the CS.
Kenya, as of March 26, recorded 31 COVID-19 cases, with one patient confirmed to have recovered.
The world, on the other hand, had registered 499,935 cases of coronavirus. Out of this number, 121, 211 patients (24.2 per cent) recovered, whereas 22, 323 (4.5 per cent) patients died of the contagion.
Kenya’s Health Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr. Mercy Mwangangi, on Thursday, March 26, revealed that three new coronavirus cases were registered between Wednesday and Thursday.
Dr. Mwangangi said the latest three cases are all Kenyans, and were in close contact with some of the 28 patients, who had been diagnosed earlier.
The CAS said 906 persons have been traced and are being monitored and that 18 of them have been quarantined at Mbagathi Hospital.
On Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that the coronavirus cases in Kenya had risen to 28, though a patient, who was in isolation at Mbagathi, had fully recovered from the disease.
Kenya recorded its first COVID-19 case on March 12. The first patient, was a 27-year-old Kenyan woman who arrived in the country from Chicago, USA via London, UK, on March 5.
Following the steady increase in confirmation of new cases, President Kenyatta, in his Wednesday address, announced measures his Government will take to cushion Kenyans against tough economic times wrought by coronavirus outbreak.
Ranging from tax reductions, to ordering State departments to expedite payments of pending bills, the Head of State said the decisions arrived at would help Kenyans remain financially afloat as the Government commits to battling the virus, whose confirmed cases in the country stood at 28 as of Wednesday, Mach 25.
Below are some of the tax reliefs and measures President Kenyatta said would help reduce financial uncertainty among Kenyans:
• 100% tax relief to Kenyans earning Ksh24, 000 and below.
• Pay as you earn (PAYE) reduction from a maximum of 30% to 25%.
• Reduction of turnover tax rate from 3% to 1% for all micro, small and medium enterprises.
• Reduction of resident income tax to 25%.
• The Government to make available Ksh10 billion to vulnerable groups including the elderly and orphans, among others. This, the president, said will be done through cash transfers from the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection.
• Temporary suspension of the listing of loan defaulters with the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) of any person, micro, small and medium enterprise and corporate entities whose loan account is in arrears effective April 1, 2020.
• Reduction of VAT from 16% to 14% effective April 1, 2020.
• All ministries and State departments to make payments amounting to Ksh30 billion to those owed monies by the Government. This, the president said, must be done within three weeks from March 25. The Head of State also urged the private sector to clear pending bills.
• KRA to expedite payment of all VAT refunds amounting to Ksh10 billion, or allow withholding of offsetting VAT. This, President Kenyatta said, must happen within three weeks.
• Ksh1 billion from the Universal Health Coverage kitty be channeled to the employment of new health workers to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
• The president and his deputy to take 80% pay-cut, all Cabinet Secretaries to take 30% pay-cuts, Chief Administrative Secretaries (30%) and Principal Secretaries (20%).
• All State and public officers aged 58 and above; and have preexisting medical conditions, to take leave from work, or be allowed to work from home. This directive excludes those public officers working in the security department.
• CBK to lower the Central Bank Rate from 8.25% to 7.25%.
• Reduce the Cash Reserve Ratio from 5.25% to 4.25%. The president said this will help increase liquidity of Ksh35 billion to commercial banks, which, in turn, will be in positions to provide loan services to “distressed Kenyans”.
• CBK directed to provide flexibility to bank loan classifications and loans performing as at March 2, 2020.
All the above proposals can only be ratified by the National Assembly and the Senate, and the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani was directed to present them before Parliament for approval before April 1, 2020.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Makelo Lusaka and his National Assembly counterpart, Justin Njoka Muturi, on Thursday, March 26, announced that the two Houses of Parliament will convene special sittings on Tuesday, March 31, to discuss the president’s recommendations on COVID-19 fight.
The Head of State also directed Cabinet sittings chaired by Interior minister Fred Matiang’i be held twice a week, up from once a week. President Kenyatta said the sittings should be focused on the impact of the virus on the Kenyan people.
The president further announced a national 7pm to 5am curfew to all Kenyans beginning Friday, March 27. Health workers and essential service providers are excluded from those affected by the curfew. President Kenyatta said a full list of essential service providers was going to be made available soon.
The crucial service providers — as listed by the president — include: medical professionals and health workers, national security officers, public health and sanitation officers, licensed pharmacies, licensed journalists and media houses, staff of the Kenya Power, food dealers and transporters of farm produce, supermarkets, retailers and distributors of petroleum and oil products, and telecommunications service providers.
Others include: commercial banks and financial institutions, the fire brigade and other emergency response service providers and licensed security companies.
In his address Wednesday, President Kenyatta also directed that the management of the Kenya ferry Services be vested in the National Police Service.
“The Coast Guard Service and all citizens are expected to obey all rules procedures set out for crossing the ferry channel,” said President Kenyatta.