Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki yesterday asked Kenyans to avoid non-essential travel to China as she announced a raft of measures the government has taken to tackle the deadly coronavirus that has so far killed more than 250 people.
Ms Kariuki also noted that none of the 88 Kenyan students in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which is currently under lockdown to combat spread of the disease, had been reported to show signs of infection.
In a statement to newsrooms last evening, Ms Kariuki said a Cabinet ad hoc committee on health held a meeting to discuss the coronavirus where it stipulated that there will be enhanced screening at border points and seaports.
“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,” stated the outgoing Health minister.
“A two-tier screening process is being conducted on all inbound passengers and crew at our international airports. To fortify the State’s response, we have also enhanced screening at our border points and seaports,” added Ms Kariuki.
Assuring that Kenya is safe of the virus that causes pneumonia-like symptoms at its advanced stages, Ms Kariuki also announced that the student who was being held at the Kenyatta National Hospital on suspicion of having contracted the virus had been discharged after coronavirus tests came out negative.
“The one suspected case that was under surveillance in our isolation facility at Kenyatta National Hospital has been cleared,” she said.
Elsewhere on the globe, countries have resolved to bar entry of non-citizens coming from China and rigorous tests for citizens from the Asian state. Among them is the United States that released tough measures on Friday; same as Australia and Japan.
As for Kenya, Ms Kariuki said the government will “continue to monitor the situation in China”.
“(We) have been in constant engagement with the Chinese embassy in Kenya, as well as our Beijing office,” she stated.
“We are closely monitoring the status of our citizens in China, and in particular the 88 Kenyan students based in Wuhan city … None of the Kenyan students, nor any other Kenyans in China, has been reported as displaying symptoms of the virus,” she added.
The World Health Organisation on Friday declared the coronavirus a global emergency, with special focus on countries that have no health capacities to deal with outbreak.
“Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
WHO, however, warned that travel restrictions could be counter-productive.
“Travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering information-sharing, medical supply chains and harming economies,” Mr Ghebreyesus said on Friday, recommending the introduction of screening at official border crossings.
By yesterday evening, the death toll from the disease had hit 259, as reported by the BBC.
Ms Kariuki asked Kenyans to continue observing basic hygiene and safe food practices. “Anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, with a history of recent travel to China, is advised to immediately report to the nearest health facility. Kenyans are further advised to avoid non-essential travel to China and other high-risk countries,” noted Ms Kariuki.
The post Ministry warns against travel to China as coronavirus crisis rages appeared first on Kenya News Alerts.