The Health ministry on Thursday gave an update on preparedness for a coronavirus outbreak, saying it had taken several steps to keep the public safe.
The update followed complaints by the public after a plane from China, the country where the virus originated, landed in Kenya on Wednesday.
The ministry said:
- It continues to maintain a heightened surveillance system at all points of entry, health facilities and communities across the country.
- Through its surveillance system, it has been able to pick 17 alerts and all tested negative for the disease
- Stopping the Chinese from travelling to Kenya would be discriminatory.”Even if you stop flights, there are others that connect elsewhere, so it is not a solution at this point,” Chief Administrative Secretary told a press conference.”A time may come when that is necessary but we should be careful not to label people a certain way as we protect our people. That is not lost on us. We want to protect our people at all costs.
- Many of the Chinese who live in Kenya live alone, so the question of family does not apply.
- It has taken steps including isolation and quarantine, as guided by the World Health Organization (WHO).Isolation applies to confirmed cases that need close monitoring to prevent spread while self-quarantine is an extreme precautionary measure.Self-quarantine does not mean the person is infected but that measures need to be taken over the 14 days to ensure no infection or prevent spread of the virus.In a family setting, self-quarantine means a person cannot freely mix with members because of the way the virus is transmitted.If the person makes contract with his family, they will all be under quarantine.
- Kenya has enough facilities to handle suspected cases at the moment, including an 11-bed area at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.