Authorities in Kenya on Friday ordered a prison to be put under total lockdown after 48 inmates there tested positive for the coronavirus, local media reported.
The administration of Kericho County in western Kenya said the move was necessary due to an increase in cases of community transmissions.
“We initiated mass testing in public facilities including the GK Prisons which has now emerged as one of the most hit facilities in the county,” the county governor, Paul Chepkwony, said in a statement.
Chepkwony added that the inmates, at Kericho GK Prison, were all asymptomatic and efforts to trace their contacts were underway.
Visits to the prison have been suspended indefinitely as authorities try to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.
“…the Department of Health and the Prisons Management have put in place appropriate measures to curb the spread.”
Prisons, due to the numbers of inmates in them and congestion, have been identified as areas in which the coronavirus could spread exponentially.
Court services in the county were also suspended for 14 days after four law officers tested positive for the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Kenya’s Ministry of Health reported 322 new COVID-19 cases which pushed the nationwide total to 31,763.
The ministry also reported 16 more fatalities and 288 more recoveries raising the respective totals to 532 and 18,157.
Kenya is the second worst affected country in the East African region behind Ethiopia, which has registered more confirmed cases and deaths, but fewer recoveries.