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Uphill task of coronavirus contact tracing – KBC




Tracing hundreds of people who have come into contact with corona patients has become an overwhelming task.

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Contact-tracing isn’t new, it’s been used for decades to track patients who may have passed their illness to others during their stay.

According to infectious disease experts, a potential close contact case is typically someone who spent more than 30 minutes with the infected person, within a 2-metre space.

Since the first case was reported in Kenya on Friday, March 13th, the figure of contacts being traced has since shot up to 646.

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According to Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe, 96 of these have already been released after completing the 14 days follow up period

The daily Ministry of Health updates indicate that every time a new patient is identified the figure of contact tracing goes up.

While the government has stepped up measures to combat the disease, it is clearly grappling with contact tracing after confirmation of more cases in the last two days.

A passionate appeal by Health CS to Kenyans to stay indoors shows just how the situation is volatile.

“If we continue behaving normally, the disease will treat us abnormally” warned the CS 

The search has become widespread after the case of Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi and a priest who returned to Italy each went about their public business ignoring the order to self-quarantine.

The deputy governor is said to have contacted hundreds of people in official and private functions at the Coast.

Saburi who has since tested positive will have to face prosecution for allegedly refusing to self-isolate after arriving in the country from Germany via Amsterdam on March 6.

His refusal sparked the anger of residents and county staff who interacted with him, some of whom have quarantined including the Governor Amason Kingi.

The Catholic Priest who hails from Siaya and based in Italy where he came from is said to have conducted a mass at a Catholic Church in Ambira on Friday.  He also attended a funeral at a village in Ugunja Sub-county on Saturday, March 14.

The County emergency response team on Monday held a crisis meeting in the wake of the report about the priest.

Area residents who may have interacted with the priest have been urged to contact the authorities who will facilitate isolation measures and testing to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Those who have been lined up for tests include his immediate family members, a priest in Sega where he spent a night, nuns at Lwak Convent where he visited and mourners who attended the burial.

Tracing has also been stepped up in Taita Taveta County where a French tourist who tested positive visited. 16 people who came into contact with the tourists have been isolated.

The tourist spent two nights in different lodges whose names have not been disclosed and later preceded to Kwale County.


Authorities in Murang’a are also in pursuit of individuals who jetted into the country and have refused to self-isolate. 29 individuals have been placed under forced quarantine while one other person is currently been sort after.

“It’s very careless for family members to hide a person who has arrived from overseas at this time,” stated Murang’a governor Mwangi Wa Iria.

Wa Iria further said they have been receiving many calls from locals informing them of visitors including those from abroad who failed to observe self-quarantine.

If the numbers surge, contact tracing becomes complicated, warn experts

Experts, however, warn that if the numbers continue to surge, contact tracing which is expensive and labour extensive becomes complicated with the contact tracers also being exposed to the threat of the virus.

Many countries around the world have resulted in a total lock down to battle the virus.



The World Health Organization has praised Singapore for being proactive even before the first case was detected.

The country launched a contact-tracing smartphone app to allow authorities to identify those who have been exposed to people infected with coronavirus as part of efforts to curb the spread of the disease.

The TraceTogether app work by exchanging short distance BlueTooth signals between phones to detect other participating users in close proximity of 2 meters.























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