Suspected coronavirus cases in Kenya rise

Thursday, February 20th, 2020 07:55 |

The country is on a high alert after three more suspected cases of the deadly Coronavirus were reported, bringing the total to 13. 

Apart from the two cases which were reported in Mutomo in Kitui and Kilimani in Nairobi, a new case emerged at Ingobor, Kapkures in Nakuru County where a Chinese national ‘quarantined himself’ after he returned from China 10 days ago.

However, the government yesterday moved to assure Kenyans that all the 13 cases that have been reported so far have tested negative adding that necessary measures have been in place to ensure that Coronavirus, which is code-named COVID-19, doesn’t get into the country.

In a statement sent to newsrooms, the Ministry of Health said that a national contingency plan to guide implementation of priority preparedness and response has been put in place to contain the threat posed by COVID-19.

“All the 13 cases tested negative. Two of the cases in Mutomo and Kilimani did not meet World Health Organisation (WHO) case definition criteria…” the government statement said. 

However, an emergency operations centre has also been activated and is closely monitoring the evolution of the outbreak in China and the rest of the world. In addition, 500 health care workers have trained and rapid response teams put on standby and will spring into action in case of any emergency.

Majority of these newly trained health workers have been deployed to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), the country’s largest aviation facility and East Africa’s busiest airport. 

“Mandatory screening at all points of entry to minimise the risk of importation of the virus from affected countries… Isolation facilities have been set up at Kenyatta National Hospital and Mbagathi District Hospital to be used to isolate suspected cases,” the government assured. 

At the same time, the government has roped in private health facilities within Nairobi City to support provision of additional isolation facilities in the event that the country reports more cases than the capacity at Kenyatta National Hospital.

The government has also raised the capacity at the National Influenza Centre and KEMRI laboratories therefore enabling the facility test suspected cases of COVID-19 up to the required international standards. 

The Ministry of Health (MoH) also says that they have procured additional 5,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with support from USAID. 

By yesterday afternoon, more than 75,000 cases and 2,000 deaths had been reported by WHO with majority happening in Wuhan Province in China, the epicenter of the deadly outbreak.

The Government has stepped up preparedness measures through heightened surveillance system at all points of entry, health facilities and communities across the country to ensure that there is no importation of COVID-19 into the country, it said. 

In Nakuru, Health CEC Kariuki Gichuki said that they have trained 200 health workers at Nakuru’s Level 5 Hospital, Naivasha and Gilgil sub county hospitals respectively. 

The officer said that the Chinese man arrived from Songwang town in Yulin City (Guangxi province) on February 10 at around 10.30 PM. He was driven to his home in Upper Hill estate where he lives with his wife and two children by Uber which he hired in Nairobi. 

The man whose name has not been revealed because of patient confidentiality is married to a Kenyan and together they have children aged five and one years. 

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