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Kenya can’t test coronavirus without US help – envoy

US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter on Sunday claimed that Kenya would not be able to test for coronavirus without help from America.

His comments came during an exchange with Kenyans on social media after he renamed Covid-19 to Wuhan flu which did not sit well with citizens.

“It’s Corona virus, or Covid-19. Insisting on renaming it Wuhan flu or China flu like your prez is just plain daft!!! How many masks has @USEmbassyKenya donated??!!” asked an agitated Kenyan’.

“You would not be able to test in Kenya if not for #usamarafiki,” he replied.

Noting that only a fraction of Kenyans is wearing masks and social distancing, the US envoy said no one knows the magnitude of the “Wuhan flu”.

When a Twitter user @KOT_Loys pointed out to him that it is Covid-19, not Wuhan flu, McCarter posed, “Are you KOT (Kenyan On Twitter) or WHO (World Health Organization)?”

When another user asked when the virus got a new name, which he said sounded derogatory, xenophobic and highly unwelcome, the Ambassador replied, “Origin only!”.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” during news conferences and on Twitter, ignoring criticism that it was racist.

“It’s not racist at all,” Trump said, explaining his reasoning after a reporter told him many consider it racist. “It comes from China, that’s why.”

Chinese experts argue that labelling the virus this way will only increase tensions between the two countries and encourage xenophobia.

On March 25, the Independent reported that ministers of the Group of 7 (G7) intergovernmental economic group including the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan were not able to issue a joint statement because the US insisted on calling the coronavirus the Wuhan virus.

Here are a few exchanges between Kenyans and the ambassador.