By HENRY OWINO

Kenya is closely monitoring the status of its citizens in China, in particular the 88 students based in Wuhan City which is now under lockdown to mitigate spread of the virus with only emergency services and crew delivering critical food and other supplies as required.

Still the Ministry of Health advises Kenyans to avoid non-essential travel to China and other high risk countries. In addition, anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, with a history of recent travel to China, is advised to immediately report to the nearest health facility.

A press release signed by the health cabinet secretary Mrs Sicily Kariuki said that none of the Kenyan students or any other Kenyans in China has been reported as displaying symptoms of the virus. Kenya’s Embassy in Beijing shall continue to offer material and moral support to Kenyan students in Wuhan City.

The Kenya Government has assured its citizens that the country is currently free from coronavirus. This also follows one suspected case of a patient recently admitted at Kenyatta National hospital (KNH).

Kenyans has been anxious to know the status of the patient as people feared for their lives that coronavirus has entered the country.

To make matters even worse, Kenya Airways is still flying to China the origin of the disease.

However, on Saturday, 1 February, 2020 the Cabinet Ad Hoc Committee on Health, chaired by Mrs Kariuki, Cabinet Secretary for Health, held a meeting in Harambee House, Nairobi to review the status of the country’s response to the Coronavirus.  

The Committee reviewed the current global and local situation and wishes to assure the public that the country is currently safe from the Coronavirus.

Mrs Kriuki revealed one suspected case that was under surveillance in isolation facility at KNH has been cleared, and the patient has been discharged from Hospital.

 “We commend all the medical teams at our ports of entry, and health facilities for their diligence and care and continued high sense of civic duty,” Mrs Kariuki said.

Mrs Kariuki affirmed the surveillance system remains on high alert at all points of entry and health facilities. A two tier screening process is being conducted on all inbound passengers and crew at Kenya’s international airports.

“To fortify the State’s response, we have also enhanced screening at our border points, and sea ports. We continue to monitor the situation in China, and have been in constant engagement with the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, as well as our Beijing Office.” Health Cabinet Secretary assured.

She stated the Government has been appraised of the global and regional situation.

“We are closely monitoring the status of our citizens in China, and in particular the 88 Kenyan students based in Wuhan City.” Mrs Kariuki said.

The city is now under lockdown to mitigate spread of the virus, with only emergency services and crew delivering critical food and other supplies as required.

“None of the Kenyan students or any other Kenyans in China has been reported as displaying symptoms of the virus. Our Embassy in Beijing shall continue to offer material and moral support to our students in Wuhan City,” Mrs Kariuki emphasized.

In line with the World Health Organization (WHO) Declaration of 31st January 2020 on the virus, the Government continues to foster our emergency response actions to manage any suspected cases that may be identified.

The Committee has approved additional mitigation measures to further strengthen our response strategy. The public is kindly requested to bear with the enhanced surveillance actions, and collaborate with health officials as directed.

The on-the-ground task teams will continue to implement the strategic directions of the Committee and report back on a 24/7 basis.

Once again, the Government wishes to advise members of the public, to maintain basic hygiene, and safe food practices. In addition, anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, with a history of recent travel to China, is advised to immediately report to the nearest health facility.