City Hall hit by Covid-19, again
City Hall has been hit with Covid-19 with at least 15 MCAs as well as members of staff from both the Executive and the County Assembly having contracted the virus.
This is the second time the Nairobi County government is finding itself at the heart of the Coronavirus storm following a similar scare in May.
At that time, a staff member at City Hall’s procurement department tested positive for Covid-19 as well as three MCAs, who had traveled outside the country.
Raising the alarm, Roysambu MCA Peter Warutere, who also doubles up as the assembly’s Health Committee chairman, said he knew of his colleagues who had recently contracted the virus, although he did not name them “as that would be infringing on their rights to privacy” unless they come out themselves.
Warutere pointed out that the new cases are different from county legislators who had earlier in the year contracted the virus, self-isolated, sought medical attention and recovered.
The ward representative also stated that there are a number of county assembly staff who have tested positive for Covid-19.
“Unfortunately, there are both MCAs and assembly staff who have contracted the Coronavirus. We sympathize with them and wish them a quick recovery,” he said.
Another MCA confirmed that he knows at least five of his counterparts who recently contracted the novel virus, which has killed 1,300 people in the country so far.
“I know of five ward representatives who have the virus and are currently at home self-isolating,” he said.
Interestingly, one of the MCAs he mentioned had just posted on social media that she had returned a negative test after days of self-isolation.
On the County Executive side, a number of staff have also tested positive with reports also indicating that two CECs have recently been infected.
One of the staff from the Executive confirmed that a few officials working at City Hall had gone for home-based care and others in isolation after testing positive for the virus.
“Indeed the virus is among us and our very own colleagues have contracted Covid-19,” he said.
Reached for comment, Governor Mike Sonko’s spokesperson Ben Mulwa said he only knew of random cases of staff contracting Covid-19 but he was not aware if there are affected CECs.
On his part, County Health CEC Hitan Majevdia, however, said he was yet to establish any case of a CEC contracting the virus.
Mr Waruterecalled on Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura to strictly prohibit all physical meetings within the assembly’s precincts in order to prevent the virus from spreading further, saying that there could be many more positive cases in the city assembly.
“It would be in the best interest of all the 122 MCAs and staff that our speaker closes the assembly including all physical meetings in order to help on containment measures for now,” he said.
Majority Whip Paul Kados revealed that together with the House leadership they will liaise on the way forward, noting that they have already prohibited physical meetings of more than 25 MCAs in a single sitting.
He, however, called upon his counterparts who know they are Covid-19 positive to self-isolate as required by the Ministry of Health.
“It is difficult to know the status of all 122 members since not everyone has undergone testing and even if they have it, not all will reveal their status. If they can allow we all get tested and know their status it will be better but it a personal decision to reveal the results,” said the Mihang’o MCA.
The assembly has been holding its plenary sittings virtually since June when former speaker Beatrice Elachi suspended physical sessions due to Covid-19.
Only the House leadership, a mover of a motion and a few members are allowed in the chambers during plenary sittings.
Committee sittings were also directed to go virtual except for crucial ones like the public accounts committee.