Africa, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Panic grips Kenya, as 17 MPs test positive for COVID-19

Several MPs were randomly tested last week, prompting speaker to cancel sitting of parliament

Panic grips Kenya, as 17 MPs test positive for COVID-19


As many as 17 lawmakers in the East African country of Kenya have reportedly tested COVID-19 or coronavirus positive, prompting the Speaker to cancel holding of the special sitting of the parliament, local media reported on Tuesday.

“They are suspecting that 17 MPs have tested positive at random testing last week. The information is not clear but it is members and staff. So that is the reason why the House sitting has been canceled,” a lawmaker told the online newspaper The Star, requesting anonymity.

“We cannot reveal their identities because it is against the law to reveal someone's health status without their permission,” he added.

There are fears that the number of infected lawmakers may increase, as test results of many of them were still waiting, according to another media outlet, the People’s Daily website.

When the website contacted the Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, he neither denied or confirmed the news reports.

“I can only talk of myself because I did the test here, together with my family and security. I know my results, that I am negative. But for the rest of the members, they have been given results individually,” he told the online publication.

He said the parliament sittings were called off following the declaration of cessation of movement in Nairobi by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

According to the U.S.-based John Hopkins Resource Centre, Kenya has so far reported 172 infected cases, with 6 deaths.

The government has partially locked down the capital Nairobi and the coastal cities of Mombasa, Kilifi, and Kwale for three weeks.

The virus first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan has so far spread in at least 184 countries. So far 1.43 million cases have been reported worldwide, including 82,172 deaths.

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