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Media council urges suspension of crowded news conferences to contain coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 19 – The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) Thursday urged the national government to provide live feeds for coronavirus updates to avoid crowding of journalists in news conferences.

In new guidelines by MCK’s Media Sector Emergency Response Team, the council called on the office of the Government Spokesperson and County Government Communication departments to suspend all live press conferences to avoid large gatherings of media practitioners which could present a health risk.

MCK said, for journalists to be able to comply with Ministry of Health guidelines on COVID-19, they should not be exposed to crowding and urging media houses to put the safety of their journalists first.

“The National Government, County departments, Agencies and private sector should suspend all live press conferences as currently constituted in order to comply with the Ministry of Health guidelines in containment of Covid-19,” the statement read in part.

“National government to facilitate the provision of live feeds to national and community level media stations while urging the Ministry of Health to provide content on COVID-19 to media houses for public communication.  This is particularly critical to avoid a congregation of large numbers of journalists in one location,” the council added. 

MCK has however pointed out that in case journalists are needed to cover a critical event or press conference, then the government should provide all necessary protective gear.

The government has so far confirmed seven cases of the virus in the country that has left 8,800 people dead and 220,000 others infected globally. At least 84,000 people worldwide have recovered from COVID-19.

The Government of Kenya has put in place measures to curb the spread of the virus including closure of all learning institutions and suspended the admission of foreigners with no residence status into the country.

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President Kenyatta earlier this week declared Saturday a National prayer day to seek God’s intervention in fighting the global pandemic. 

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