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Kenya warned against Closing Schools

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has issued a warning to the government regarding the closure of schools over the omicron variant that is quickly spreading across the country.

At the moment schools have been closed or will be closed this coming week latest by 23 December just in time for the Christmas celebrations.

UNICEF urged the government not to close schools after 79 per cent of the 34 samples tested were confirmed as positive cases for the omicron variant.

According to UNICEF, the closure of schools will affect school-going children.

“Evidence is clear that prolonged closure of the school and a lack of access to remote learning have wiped out decades of progress in education and rendered childhood unrecognizable. A shadow pandemic of child labour, child marriage and mental health issues has taken hold.

“Nationwide school closures should be avoided whenever possible. When COVID-19 community transmission increases and stringent public health measures become a necessity, schools must be the last places to close and the first to reopen,” said UNICEF executive director Henriatta Fore.

Positive cases have been on the rise in recent times hinting at a looming fifth wave. Besides, the number of new COVID-19 cases has also been on the rise at the same time.

The Ministry of Health’s data on the rate of positive cases reveals that on Wednesday last week, the rate of positivity was at 10.6% with 799 people testing positive from a sample of 7,529.

This rose to 16.3% the following day, 22.4% on Friday and then 23% on Saturday.

The government now wants as many people to be vaccinated as possible. As of Friday last week, almost 9 million had been vaccinated. Of this 5.2 million Kenyans are partially vaccinated while 3.5 million are fully vaccinated. The number of adults who are fully immunized is 13%.

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