Kenya has confirmed its first coronavirus case on Friday, becoming the eleventh country in sub-Saharan Africa and the first in eastern Africa and to register a positive case.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Friday said the patient is a Kenyan who travelled from the United States via London, Britain.
He said that although the patient, a woman, is stable, she will not be released from the Kenyatta National Hospital’s Infectious Disease Unit, where she is being treated, until she is confirmed negative.
Mr Kagwe said the government has traced all contacts the 27-year-old patient made since her arrival on March 5.
Consequently, Kenya has suspended all travel outside the country unless necessary.
Public gatherings are also suspended, including all inter-schools events, sports, rallies and crusades.
However, religious institutions can hold their meetings as long they provide hand sanitisers.
CS Kagwe urged Kenyans to remain calm, noting that there’s no need for panic or worry provided people abide by the measures put in place.
“This is not a time to assign blame but one to join hands to ensure this pandemic does not tear through our country. This is not the time to make abnormal prices,” he warned pharmacies and business people.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, who was present at the press conference, said all public transport operators were summoned on March 10 for a special stakeholder meeting.
He said the government will be conducting training at bus stops from 10am to 4pm that will involve all bus drivers, matatu drivers and conductors.
“Public transport carries the vast majority of our people…more than 90 percent. That is why we are giving it special focus.”
CS Kagwe has invoked the Public Health Act which requires Kenyans to:
- Maintain a distance of at least one metre from persons who are coughing.
- Stay at home if you are coughing and have a fever and difficulty in breathing.
- All public gatherings and events that have large gatherings have been cancelled.
- Inter-school events suspended but schools will remain open.
- Public transport operators are required to regularly clean their vehicles and provide hand sanitisers to passengers.
- All visits to prisons have been suspended for the next 30 days.
- Do not spreading misinformation.
- Unless absolutely necessary, travelling to affected countries has been banned.
The coronavirus (Covid-19), whose epicentre was in Wuhan, China, has now killed nearly 5,000 people and infected more than 130,000 worldwide as at Friday.
Sub-Saharan Africa has so far been less badly hit by the virus than Europe or China. Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Senegal and Togo have also registered cases.
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