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New Kenya Health Minister to Head CoronaVirus Emergency Response Team, to Issue Update Today

GBR Team 01/03/2020

Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe will address the nation later today (Sunday) with an update on the government’s plans to tackle the looming threat of the Corona Virus.

Mr. Kagwe who is new to the docket has been thrown headlong into the crisis of the deadly flu-like Virus that originated from China before spreading to other countries.

“Today,” Mr. Kagwe in a text response to queries by GBR over when he would be updating the public on the government’s response to the threat of the virus spreading to Kenya.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday announced the formation of a high-level government emergency response committee with Mr. Kagwe at its head to coordinate the preparedness and response to the looming threat of the virus.

Issued under Executive Order No 2 of 2020, the statement also appointed cabinet and principal secretaries from various ministries as members including Transport, Foreign Affairs, ICT, Interior as well as the heads of the Aviation regulator and the Airports Authority.

The Committee is expected to offer a more organised approach to what has hitherto been seen as an underwhelming and lackadaisical response by the Kenyan government to the threat posed to its citizens.

Kenyans expressed outrage recently when a China Southern Airlines plane with 239 passengers landed in the country even as nations across the world restrict flights from China to minimize the risk of the virus spreading to their citizens.

Cabinet Secretaries seen to be at the frontline of the country’s defence against such risks such as Transport, Health, Foreign Affairs and Interior were branded Enemies of the People in the press and accused of playing with the lives of Kenyans.

Mr. Kagwe will be looked to to bring sense to the chaos and offer a credible government response and preparedness to the threat.

This will be Mr. Kagwe’s second stint in government. He previously served at the Ministry of ICT where he is widely credited with the country’s opening up the sector along with his permanent secretary, Dr. Bitange Ndemo.

The committee he leads will be tasked to ramp up the country’s capacity to respond to the virus threat, to monitor all ports of entry in the country, to ensure there is supply of protective gear including testing kits and masks in the country and to oversee the establishment of isolation centres at major hospitals to quarantine any suspected cases.