President Uhuru Kenyatta has formed the National Emergency Response Committee to monitor the risk posed by the deadly coronavirus following public outcry.
In an executive order issued on Friday, President Uhuru appointed Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe to head the task force mandated to coordinate Kenya’s preparedness, prevention and response to the deadly disease.
"Having found it both prudent and necessary to establish a framework to upscale and coordinate Kenya's preparedness and national response to the Coronavirus threat," read the statement.
The President also directed the completion of a national isolation and treatment centre at Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi in a week’s time.
"The national isolation and treatment facility at Mbagathi be completed and ready to receive patients within seven days from the date hereof.
"That the identification and preparation of isolation treatment facilities in Level IV and referral hospitals be completed before March 15," read the order.
Uhuru said they will also enhance surveillance at all ports and points of entry to Kenya.
The 21-member team will be led by Kagwe.
Other committtee members include Defence Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, Transport CS James Macharia and ICT CS Joe Mucheru among others.
Earlier, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua slammed the government over what she described as reckless mishandling of the global outbreak of the virus.
She blamed the government for exposing the 48 million Kenyans to the risk of contracting the virus even after admitting that the Ministry of Health is not prepared to handle the disease.
“The government is talking about a paltry 11 beds (testing and monitoring) for the whole country for the dreaded disease yet there is no proper monitoring at border entry points and at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA),” she said.
President Uhuru, however, did not shut the country’s airspace as was demanded by Karua, but instead created the team to help in monitoring of the virus.