, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – Kenya said Tuesday it was yet to ascertain if a student who flew in from China had coronavirus, having confirmed that he had visited Wuhan city–the epicenter of the deadly viral disease that has so far claimed 106 lives and infected more than 4000 others across the world.
Cases of coronavirus–believed to have originated from the consumption or contact with snakes or bats in China–have been confirmed in the UK, USA, Germany, Singapore and Japan where an old man was found to have been infected Tuesday, even though he had not traveled to China.
On Tuesday, a student who arrived at JKIA, Kenya’s main airport, was rushed to the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) where he was quarantined after displaying symptoms of the viral disease.
“Appropriate specimens have been collected for investigation at the National Influenza Centre,” said Sicily Kariuki, the Health CS, in the first government briefing to the media late Tuesday, “the suspected case remains in isolation facility at KNH while investigations and laboratory tests are undertaken.” Results were due out Wednesday.
The student whose identity was not immediately disclosed is said to have traveled from Wuhanon January 20th to Zhangjiajie city. He then left for Nairobi via Guangzhou and Bangkok Thailand on January 27th January, landing at JKIA on Tuesday morning at 0615 hours.
After screening, the passenger was found to have fever and was isolated, the CS told reporters of the first suspected case in Africa.
Kariuki urged Kenyans to remain vigilant, and present themselves to health facilities in case they present symptoms they suspect to be coronavirus.
“Anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever, coughing, difficulty in breathing and sneezing with a history of recent travel to China is advised to go to the nearest health facility for assessment and prompt management,” she said.
Director-General in charge of health at the ministry Dr Patrick Amoth asked Kenyans to maintain basic hand and respiratory hygiene, safe food practices and avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
Ahead of the lab tests, Kenyan students in China’s Wuhan city were worried of their safety, accusing the government of not evacuating them as nations scrambled to take their citizens out following a lockdown imposed by Chinese authorities.
The students have taken to twitter under the hashtag KenyansInWuhan to air their frustrations with some claiming there has been no communication from the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing.
Cornelius Mulili, one of the students stuck in Wuhan told Capital FM News the situation is serious.
“Just disappointed by our country. Second week now in this ghost city and nothing seems to be done,” said Cornelius Mulili.
Rono Kipkorir, another student in Wuhan described the situation as horrible.
“The situation here isn’t good. All our government has done is to give us a press release. I don’t even want to describe what we are going through both mentally and physically,” he said.
John Mulongo said Kenyans in Wahun especially students were in urgent need of assistance.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nairobi has advised Kenyans to keep off the Wahun, Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic which had claimed 81 lives by Monday.
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