State puts international fora Kenya Open Golf on hold over Coronavirus

Friday, March 6th, 2020 20:31 |

The government of Kenya on Friday imposed a 30-day ban on all ‘international’ meetings as the Coronavirus fear continues to threaten the global trade and interactions.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the ban aims at curtailing the importation of the deadly virus into the country which has so far claimed 3,300 lives in 85 nations. Kenya has yet to register a single victim.

Speaking to journalists during the opening of a 120-bed capacity isolation facility at the Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi, Kagwe said the ban commences immediately.

“The government has with immediate effect banned all meetings and conferences of an international nature in Kenya for a month,” he said.

The biggest events in the country to fall victim of the ban is the next week's Magical Kenya Open golf tournament and Kenya versus Comoros Africa Cup of Nations football qualifiers scheduled for the end of the month.

The Chairperson of the Kenya Open Golf Limited, Peter Kanyango, in a statement said they would abide by the government’s directive.

Kagwe urged Kenyans to avoid non-essential travel out of the country.

Government officials have also been banned from visiting affected countries unless it is extremely necessary for them to travel but with permission.

“The Government has issued a travel advisory to all Kenyans to avoid non-essential travel to high risk countries for conferences/meetings or events where more than 15 people would be gathering,” he said.

Kagwe maintained that the government has heightened measures to control the importation of the virus in the country.

The government received protective gears, medicines among other equipment from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a national public health institute of the United States.

“We are equipping another 300-bed capacity isolation facility at Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital and also deploying 5,000 medical personnel to counties to improve their capacity and preparedness,” he said.

Kagwe said the government has partly lifted the ban on Italian flights to Kenya, only allowing flight to evacuate Italian citizens returning to their native country.

The Italian citizens were in Kenya for holidays and got locked before they could travel back.

“The flight(s) will only contain their cabin crew, who will not disembark while the 800 passengers are being picked,” he said.

On Tuesday, Kagwe announced that his team had suspended flights specifically from Verona and Milan to the Kenyan coast.

He said local events involving Kenyans will still go on, including the First Lady’s Beyond Zero Marathon scheduled for this weekend.

On the status of Kenyans students in China, Wuhan the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak, the CS said they are free from the virus and are under quarantine.

“I think we are the smartest in not trying to evacuate the students like it has been done by other countries,” he said.

Kagwe however cautioned the public against issuing false and alarming messages concerning the virus, saying those doing that will be arrested and charged.

The health ministry has also liaised with Safaricom to send free messages to the public informing to educate them on coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the CS has asked Kenyans to treat visitors from Asian countries with respect and kindness as the country puts measures in place to fight coronavirus

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