Looming crisis as COVID-19 hits Treasury, Huduma Centre among other gov’t offices


Looming crisis as COVID-19 hits Treasury, Huduma Centre among other gov't offices
File image of medical workers in COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PHOTO| COURTESY

Operations at various government offices in the country could be paralysed as the far reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to unfold.

The National Treasury, Ministry of ICT and Public Service Commission are among State departments that have since scaled down operations following confirmed cases of COVID-19 at their offices.

In a memo dated July 13, Principal Administrative Secretary at The National Treasury Amos Gatheca notes that 10 out of 50 officers who were tested last week were confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus.

“This is a high percentage of 20%. This is quite alarming,” adds the memo to all directors at the Treasury.

The Principal Administrative Secretary notes that a three-day mass testing targeting 200 officers will be undertaken at the Treasury beginning July 14.

“Towards this we have requested Ministry of Health to conduct testing of all the staff of National Treasury… You are requested to generate a list of 40 persons to be tested. In this case kindly do a list of those to be tested tomorrow and hand over the names to Senior Deputy Secretary, Boniface Simba,” adds Mr. Gatheca.

At the Ministry of ICT, all operations at the headquarters will be scaled down temporarily with effect from July 15 – July 24 after an officer based at Teleposta Towers succumbed to COVID-19 and several other staff members tested positive for the virus.

“In this regard, all staff/interns will be required to work from home. During this period access to the offices will be restricted, except where there is clearance by the respective Principal Secretary,” states ICT Principal Secretary Esther Koimett, in a memo dated July 14, 2020.

Koimett adds that fumigation and sterilization of the Ministry’s Headquarter offices will be done on Saturday, July 18 to eliminate contamination of surfaces.

“The exercise will be repeated on a regular basis in all offices at Teleposta Towers, Postbank, Uchumi House and field offices,” adds the memo.

At the same time, Huduma Centres in Nairobi were closed temporarily from Tuesday July 14, to allow for fumigation.

“Taking into account the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Nairobi in the past week and the high number of customer traffic we are experiencing, we will be temporarily closing Nairobi Huduma Centres for fumigation,” read part of a statement from the Ministry of Public Services.

“We will start with Huduma Centre GPO on 14/07/2020. Kindly look out for the closing dates of the other Nairobi Huduma Centres on our social media platforms.”

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has also scaled down operations after at least 10 employees tested positive for COVID-19 following mass testing carried out on July 1, 2020.

In a memo, the commission directed all employees to self-isolate for 14 days at their homes from Monday, July 13 up to July 24.

“In this regard, all staff and interns will be required to proceed on self-isolation at home. During this period, access to commission offices will be restricted except where there is prior clearance by the Secretary and CEO,” the memo dated July 10 read.

This comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continue to rise at worrying rate.

In June, the Ministry of Lands halted operations at at Ardhi House and Survey of Kenya for two weeks following confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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