Two CSs test positive for coronavirus

Monday, July 20th, 2020 11:00 |
A doctor gets specimen for Covid-19 test. Photo/PD/File

Two Cabinet Secretaries and a senior-ranking government official are among the latest high-profile Kenyans to test positive for the coronavirus disease. 

The two CSs, a male and a female, as well as the top government official, had positive results following tests conducted on Friday. The tests were held at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri).

A source at the Ministry of Health told People Daily that the three had already been informed of their results and advised to embrace home-based care in strict adherence to the ministry’s guidelines.

“We can confirm that two Cabinet Secretaries and a senior government official have tested positive,” the source who sought anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter told us.

The source added: “However, the trio are asymptomatic, we have advised that they be kept on home-based care as we monitor them.”

We cannot reveal their identities because of ethical reasons. There has been concern over the behaviour of some top government officials and politicians who have been flouting health protocols measures with reckless abandon. 

Concerned by the rapid increase of Covid-19 cases in State institutions, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua is said to have written to Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and heads of parastatals to update him on the virus situation in their departments and the measures they were taking to mitigate spread.

“I am aware of Kinyua’s memo asking heads of departments to furnish his office with the list of their staff who have been tested for Covid 19, their results and how they are being managed,” said another source who noted that the country is likely to see a spike in infections among prominent people. 

There is concern in government circles about this virus, there is a feeling that nobody is safe.” 

Today, more top government officials are expected to undergo tests as others await their results. 

“Because of the rising cases of the disease across the country, more people may test positive from the sample we picked on Friday,” the Health ministry source said.  

Information about the two CSs came as the Covid-19 situation showed an acceleration of infections, with 603 new cases reported yesterday.

“We continue to appeal to our people to carry on with the precautions and other containment measures we have shared with you seriously,” Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said in a press statement sent to newsrooms.

Last week, a Principal Secretary, a Member of Parliament and two judges were said to be among several high ranking Kenyans who have been forced to remain in quarantine for the last 60 days after testing positive for Covid-19.

Also forced into isolation was an under-secretary in a government ministry and the head of a leading government institution.

The second-term MP who holds a key position in the National Assembly and the PS have been forced to delegate their duties to their colleagues as they wait to recover.

The source at the Health ministry said Kagwe is frustrated that his efforts to contain spread of the virus are being compromised by his fellow leaders and politicians, especially from Western Kenya, who have been holding gatherings and flouting social distancing rules.  

It also emerged yesterday that the government was considering changing the format of giving media updates on the Covid-19 situation by abandoning “live” broadcasts in favour of sending statements to newsrooms.

This has partly been informed by the fact that the top ministry officials giving the updates have sometimes felt ambushed by questions for which they may not have immediate responses.

In his statement to newsrooms yesterday, Kagwe announced that the 603 cases recorded yesterday were obtained from a sample size of 5,724. 

“We now have 13,353 confirmed positive cases, while our cumulative sample tested has risen to 243,887,” Kagwe noted.

Apart from the government offices the virus has also struck at the President’s Harambee House office where a senior official has been forced into self-quarantine for several weeks after testing positive for the disease.

 State House had also been put under lockdown after cases were detected.

 Also affected are leading corporate organisations including financial institutions and communication service providers as well as private and public hospitals, forcing dozens of employees into self-isolation and adversely affecting the delivery of services to the public.

They include Safaricom, the University of Nairobi (UoN), the Pumwani Maternity Hospital, the Aga Khan University Hospital and the Central organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) headquarters. 

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