Panic among diplomats as two CSs, PS Macharia Kamau, state officials test positive for Covid-19


Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau and Ambassador Ernesto Gomez of Cuba when he paid a courtesy visit on July 15, 2020/ MFA

There is panic in the diplomatic corps in the country after two Cabinet secretaries, among other top government officials, tested positive for Covid-19.

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.

In addition, in a memo dated July 21, Kinyua barred  Cabinet secretaries from travelling out of Nairobi for the next one week.

“You are advised not to move out of Nairobi for the next one week until advised otherwise. This directive takes effect from the date of this communication,” the letter sent to specific CSs read in part.

This came just days after People Daily reported that at least two CSs had contracted the virus and were in self-isolation

Some diplomats are now said to have gone for self-quarantine as a precaution.

This was further heightened by reports that Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary also tested positive for the virus last week after a mass testing for Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials on Tuesday, July 21.

This is because normally, diplomats and their assistant often meet with ministers and other government officials for talks, lobbying meetings and launching of projects.

For instance, Treasury CS Ukur Yatani, whose ministry has recorded at least 10 Covid-19 cases, has hosted or interacted with several diplomats this month at different forums.

It has not been made any better by remarks by PS Kamau that “the government’s contact tracing has collapsed, there is no access to proper care and even more tragic is that there is no medical insurance cover for the virus”.

“For all the billions that have been spent on this campaign, it’s hard to imagine that at the point of contact where the disease actually happens, there is no system to make sure that we have access to proper care and the proper contact tracing is actually done to keep track of those who are not well or maybe infecting others,” Ambassador Kamau said in a WhatsApp group of top government officials.

He said that after he tested positive for the virus, he quickly informed his contacts about his status but none of them have been contacted by Health officials.

“I have done my own contact tracing and I have informed all the people who came in contact with me in the 10 days prior to my test and since. They keep asking me where to go for test and I don’t know what to tell them,” Kamau is quoted saying.

A week earlier, PS Kamau and his Housing and Urban Development counterpart Charles Hinga on July 15 toured the Lamu port and the adjacent infrastructure projects that form the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor to access its progress.

Earlier that day, he had met Ambassador Ernesto Gomez of Cuba who had paid him a courtesy call in his office.

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