Government denies Malkia Strikers travel permit to Brazil over Covid situation

The government has cancelled Kenya women’s volleyball team’s high-performance training camp that was set for Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Ministry of Health has issued the directive, citing the alarming coronavirus situation in Brazil, where the team was scheduled to leave travel this weekend for a 45-day training camp.

By close of business Wednesday, Brazil had registered 14.6 million cases of coronavirus, 12 million have recovered with 401,000 deaths.

In a letter from the Acting Director General for Health Patrick Amoth, addressed to Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) Secretary General Ben Juma, the ministry advised the federation to defer the intended trip until the situation has stabilised.

“The Ministry notes that Brazil is currently experiencing widespread community transmission of Covid-19 with a surge in cases and death in the past few weeks. A review of epidemiologic situation in Brazil indicates that the current surge in cases may persist for several weeks,” the letter said.

“In view of the above and in securing the health of the national team in preparation for the Olympics, the Ministry of Health urges the federation to defer the intended travel and training in Brazil until the situation stabilises.

“The Ministry of Sports copied in this letter may wish to advise on a mechanism of facilitating such training in country, utilising equivalently qualified coaches sourced locally or abroad.”

In an earlier interview with Royal Media’s Radio Citizen, Malkia Strikers head coach Paul Bitok had expressed confidence the team would travel safely albeit the Covid-19 threat in Brazil.

“The arrangement is to have a locked camp just like we have here. All the teams in the world are operating in quite delicate situations but the key aspect is to observe all the laid down protocols.”

The development comes on a day President Uhuru Kenyatta has thrown the ball to Sports CS Amina Mohammed and her counterpart Mutahi Kagwe of health to announce protocols for sports resumption in the country.

Meanwhile, questions on if Malkia will still travel to Turkey as it was initially planned after the would be Brazil trip have emerged, in their preparations for the summer games as the team makes their first return since 2004.

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