Kenya’s president orders stepped-up effort against COVID-19

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday issued five orders regarding how the country intends to tackle coronavirus. The beef-up is in response to the increased risk of COVID-19 spreading into Kenya.

FILE PHOTO: Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta delivers a speech during a ceremony at the All Saints Anglican Church in Nairobi, Kenya./Reuters

Among the initiatives included in Kenya’s scaled-up preparedness plan are a 21-member task force and the completion of an isolation center at Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi.

Mr. Kenyatta wants the isolation center completed within seven days.

He also ordered the identification and preparation of isolation and treatment facilities in all Level Five and referral hospitals across the country to be concluded by March 15, 2020.

“Kenya is a major international hub, with 70 percent of international passengers on transit, and there is a significant threat arising from the spread of the COVID-19  to Kenya from countries that have new and ongoing outbreaks of the pneumatic disease,” the Head of State said in his Executive Order Number 2 of 2020.

Kenyatta added that “there is demonstrable and compelling public interest in further up-scaling Kenya’s level of preparedness and capacity to prevent, respond to and contain this emerging global threat.”

The committee will be responsible for coordinating Kenya’s response, enhancing surveillance at Kenya’s ports of entry, coordinating supply of testing kits and critical medical products including masks and protective gear.

They will also co-ordinate the preparation of national, county and private isolation and treatment facilities, as well as marshal local and international human resources.

More importantly, the team will formulate, enforce and review processes and requirements for entry into Kenya of any persons suspected to have traveled to a corona virus-infested area.