Kenya has confirmed its first Coronavirus case.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Friday said the patient is a 27 year-old Kenyan who travelled from the US via London.
He said that although the patient, a Kenyan, is stable and eating, she will not be released from hospital until she is confirmed negative.
The woman is at Kenyatta National Hospital’s Infectious Disease Unit.
The government says it has traced all contacts the patient made since her arrival.
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“We have done all the contact tracing and have all the names including the people who sat next to her on the flights she took,” he said.
Consequently, Kenya has suspended all travel outside the country unless necessary.
Public gatherings are also suspended, including all inter-schools events.
The CS said every level 4 and 5 hospital in the country will have an isolation ward funded by the Ministry of Health and the World Bank.
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County Governments have also been urged to carry out regular public sensitisation on the coronavirus disease.
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 10 am to 4 pm that will involve all bus drivers, matatu drivers and conductors.
“Public transport carries the vast majority of our people…more than 90 per cent. That is why we are giving it special focus.”
HEALTH ACT RULES
CS Kagwe has invoked the Public Health Act which requires Kenyans to:
- Maintain a distance of atleast 1 metre from persons who are coughing
2. Those coughing and have fever and difficulty in breathing should stay at home
3. All public gatherings, and events that have large gatherings
4. Suspension of interschool events but schools will remain open
5. Public transport operators will be required to regularly clean their vehicles and provide sanitizers to passengers
6. Suspension of all visits to prisons for the next 30 days
7. Kenyans have been warned against spreading misinformation
8. Unless absolutely necessary, travelling to affected countries have been banned
The Coronavirus disease (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.
It has spread to more that 120 countries across the globe.
PUBLIC GATHERINGS, RALLIES BANNED
Due to presence of the coronavirus case, all public gatherings, rallies, crusades, and meetings of a national nature have all been banned. This includes Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rallies.
However, churches will continue to operate as usual as long they provide hand sanitisers to their congregants.
Interschool activities like drama, music festivals and sports have been also been banned.