Lukoye Atwoli: Covid-19 negative certificate meaningless

By , K24 Digital
On Mon, 15 Jun, 2020 12:11 | < 1 min read
Raila Odinga
Opposition leader Raila Odinga after receiving his Covid-19 test results at a Kemri centre in Mbagathi, Nairobi on June 15, 2020. PHOTO | COURTESY

A prominent mental health professor, Lukoye Atwoli, has dismissed the call for Kenyans to get Covid-19 certificates.

Dr. Atwoli, who is an associate professor of Psychiatry at the Moi University, said that testing negative for Covid-19 does not confer immunity to the virus.

"A negative Covid-19 test result means the virus was not detected in the samples collected from an individual on a particular day at a particular time. It doesn’t mean that the person is immune to COVID-19 and cannot contract it hours, days, or weeks after the test is done," said Dr. Atwoli.

Therefore, a Covid-19 negative certificate is therefore meaningless beyond confirming that a person at the time the sample was collected was unlikely to be infected, said the mental health practitioner.

His comments come following a call by the Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga urging Kenyans to get Covid-19 certificates by voluntarily undergoing testing.

Raila was tested on Sunday, June 14, and received his results today confirming that he does not have the dreaded virus.

Private hospitals are charging as much as Sh10,000 for the Covid-19 tests while the Ministry of Health has only conducted targetted testing.

However, Dr. Atwoli noted that the only way of controlling the impact of this virus is using old-fashioned infectious disease control measures aimed at keeping the numbers manageable while more definitive solutions are developed.

In the absence of a viable vaccine against the virus, the Ministry of Health issued virus control regulations including social distancing, wearing face masks, maintaining high levels of personal hygiene, and targeted mass testing as well contact tracing.