NAIROBI – Panic has gripped Kenya after a student, who had just landed from China, was on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, put under quarantine at the national referral hospital in Nairobi with symptoms similar to those of the deadly coronavirus.
The hospital’s Communication Manager Hezekiel Gikambi is quoted by BBC as saying that the patient had arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport early Tuesday morning on a Kenya Airways flight from Guangzhou, China, and was rushed to the hospital.
“Kenya Airways confirms that a passenger who travelled on our flight KQ886 from Guangzhou to Nairobi on 28 January 2020 has, as a precautionary measure, been quarantined at the Kenyatta National Hospital,” KQ said in a statement.
The student originated from Wuhan, the city that is the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic in China.
This is the first suspected case in Kenya and the second in Africa.
The incident came a day after Kenya warned its citizens against travel to China’s Wuhan city, until the outbreak of the coronavirus there has been contained.
The foreign affairs ministry said it was in touch with Kenyans who are stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, that is now on lock-down.
“The embassy is aware that there are 85 Kenyans in Wuhan who are registered with the embassy and is closely monitoring the situation,” the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged countries to conduct exit screening at international airports and ports in the affected areas, with the aims early detection of symptomatic travellers for further evaluation and treatment, and thus prevent exportation of the disease.
Exit screening includes checking for signs and symptoms (fever above 38°, cough), interview of passengers with respiratory infection symptoms leaving the affected areas with regards to potential exposure to high-risk contacts or to the presumed animal source, directing symptomatic travellers to further medical examination, followed by testing for 2019-nCoV, and keeping confirmed cases under isolation and treatment, among others.
Countries with confirmed cases include, Australia, China; Shanghai, Wuhan, Hubei, France, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, United States, Nepal, Singapore, among others.