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Outgoing KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion/CFM-FILE

Kenya

Health Ministry urges KNUT to postpone delegates conference over COVID-19

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 21- The Ministry of Health has called on the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) to postpone its Annual Special Delegates Conference (SDC) set for June 26 due to the spread of COVID-19.

In a letter addressed to the union, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe further urged the Union to also consider a hybrid conference with only 15 key participants.

Kagwe noted that the conference attracts over 1,800 delegates across the country and will contravene the ban on public gatherings which is still active due to the rise in community infections.

“The Ministry recognizes the importance of the conference on the calendar of the Teachers Union. Accordingly, the gathering is expected to draw a large gathering of people and maintenance of the physical distance would be a challenge,” Kagwe stated.

KNUT had written to the Ministry of Health requesting to hold its in-person conference at the Ruaraka Sports Club.

“It is important to note that the Country is currently experiencing widespread community transmission of the virus with a surge of the cases in the past few weeks. With the recent emergence of new highly transmissible variants, Kenya remains at a high risk of resurgence of cases and deaths and therefore we are advocating for stringent measures including social distancing and avoidance of social gatherings,” Kagwe added.

Last week, Kagwe heightened efforts to slow the spread of the virus in the country particularly in the thirteen counties of Nyanza and Western regions.

Kagwe said the counties of Busia, Vihiga, Kisii, Nyamira, Kakamega, Kericho, Bomet, Bungoma, Trans-Nzoia, Kisumu, Siaya, Homa-Bay and Migori accounted for 60 per cent of the national virus caseload in two weeks, hence the decision to declare them hotspot zones.

Kagwe announced a ban on all forms of gatherings and in-person meetings in the hotspot zone, including house parties and sporting activities.

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The ban also apply to all forms of physical/congregational worship (churches, mosques, temples and shrines) in the hotspot counties for a period of 30 days.

By June 20, the country had recorded 179, 075 COVID-19 infections with 3, 456 fatalities and 122,704 recoveries.

995,012 had received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine by mid-June while 188,364 had received the second.

The government said 385,000 more doses of AstraZeneca were expected on June 21 from Denmark.

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