NAIROBI, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's total number of COVID-19 cases rose to 15,601 after 796 infections, the highest ever recorded in a single day, were confirmed on Thursday, Kenya's Ministry of Health said.
Mercy Mwangangi, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health said the latest infections are from 6,754 samples tested, bringing the total number of samples tested so far to 261,027.
"The news is not any better. It is the day we have recorded the highest number of cases since the pandemic struck," Mwangangi told journalists in a televised media briefing in Nairobi.
She however revealed that out of the number, 793 are Kenyans while three are foreign nationals.
Mwangangi said 378 patients were discharged and 199 of the new recoveries are people who were under the home-based care system, bringing the total number of recoveries to 7,135.
She said three patients succumbed to the disease, bringing the total number of deaths to 263.
As COVID-19 cases surge in Kenya at an alarming rate, authorities in the East African nation have moved to reinforce containment measures, some of which citizens have been flouting.
A number of citizens, in both urban and rural areas, have not been wearing masks as required in public places.
Similarly, many politicians and government officials have been holding public gatherings that attract throngs putting many at risk of contracting the virus.
A dusk to dawn curfew, which has been in place since April, had lately been ignored with citizens going about their businesses late into the night.
A sense of normalcy has been gripping Kenya after the government lifted a partial lockdown and allowed places of worship to reopen early July.
Bars, which were ordered closed, had found ways to operate, selling alcoholic drinks as it were before the pandemic.
A number of public transport vehicles commonly known as matatus have been carrying full capacity passengers in disregard for social distancing.
The situation has been blamed for fast-rising COVID-19 cases in Kenya. To stem the rise, the government and individual institutions have moved to enforce the containment measures.
A spot check at various buildings hosting different businesses in Nairobi on Thursday indicated that one cannot get in without their temperatures checked and anyone found with a higher temperature is barred from entering.
"Stand at that point for five minutes then come and take the temperature test again," a security guard directed a young man seeking to enter Cooperative Plaza in Nairobi on Thursday.
He was later denied entrance and asked to visit a hospital and seek medical attention when his temperature averaged 38 degrees Celsius twice, with the move ensuring that any suspect case is picked out at the earliest opportunity.
Police officers have equally stepped up efforts to ensure citizens comply with the curfew imposed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has also barred cabinet secretaries from hosting public functions.
In the past weeks, police officers in the capital Nairobi had removed roadblocks that they mounted across the city to ensure citizens comply with curfew rules.
But the restrictions are now back, a survey on Wednesday night showed officers sought to ensure only essential services providers move between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m., the curfew hours.
"Are you offering any essential services?" an officer at a roadblock in Syokimau on the south of Nairobi posed as he checked our badges to confirm we are journalists.
Dozens of motorists were stopped at the roadblock, among others across Nairobi, and booked by police officers for flouting the curfew rules. This has been the trend since Monday, with two legislators being high-profile arrested and charged in court this week for flouting curfew rules.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health announced new measures to curb the sale of alcohol to sit-in customers, a practice that had cropped back as the businesses flouted rules.
Mercy Mwangangi, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health, said on Thursday the government will start visiting communities to educate the public to observe containment measures. Enditem