Nairobi

By Andrew Ombuni

  • First patient to be diagnosed of Covid 19 was in November 17, last year in China
  • Kenyan government says the lady travelled from the US through UK on March 5
  • She has been quarantined at Kenyatta National hospital
  • Health CS Mutahi Kagwe bans public gatherings
  • Death toll in Italy has risen from 189 to 1,016 within 24 hours
  • WHO: Over 4,700 people have died and over 128,000 have been infected globally
  • About 68,000 victims have recovered from Corona Virus

The first case of Corona Virus (Covid 19) has been confirmed in Kenya. This is according to Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.

Mr Kagwe, the chairman of the National Emergency Response Committee on Corona Virus Preparedness and Response while addressing the media in Nairobi today, he said the case was confirmed last night though the lady arrived in the country on March 5.

Kagwe was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Joe Mucheru (ICT), James Macharia (Transport) and Najib Balala (Tourism).

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe

“She is a Kenyan citizen who travelled back to Nairobi from the USA via London in the United Kingdom on March 5 and self-quarantined.  She was confirmed positive by the National Influenza Centre Laboratory at the National Public Health Laboratories of the Ministry of Health,” said Kagwe.

The patient has been quarantined at the Kenyatta National Hospital. All the people she was in contact with have been traced and currently undergoing tests.

The Health CS said the patient is stable with her temperatures having gone down to normal, saying she is eating and behaving and that there was need for alarm.

He said the Ministry of Health (MoH) has put in place measures to prevent the spread of the virus further that has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). “Kenyans are reminded that the affected people experience normal mild illness but recover easily. The disease can be severe to the elderly persons and those with chronic illness,”

“I have as the Minister for Health invoked the Public Health Act and direct that Kenyans to regularly and thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water or use alcohol based hand sanitizers frequently, maintain one metre distance between yourself or anyone sneezing, persons with a cough or sneeze to stay at home,” said Mr Kagwe.

He called on Kenyans to maintain good respiratory hygiene by covering their mouths when coughing and sneezing, saying those who will experience symptoms like cough, fever and difficulties in breathing to stay at home.

“We have suspended all public gatherings, meetings, all religious crusades, games and all events that are of a huge public nature. Normal church services can go on so long as the church will provide hand sanitisers before the worshippers enter into the church. All school games and athletics have been suspended but schools to continue until further notice,” said the Health CS.

He directed that the Public transport to also provide hand sanitisers and tissue papers for the passengers to clean their hands before boarding the vehicles as well ensure the vehicles as clean so as to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

“We have suspended all visits to prisons for the next 30 days and Kenyans must not abuse social media platforms by spreading fear and panic, we have placed travel restrictions in and outside the country,” said Kagwe.

He said all Level (IV) hospitals across the country have isolation wards for Corona Virus victims.

Meanwhile, the death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has jumped in the last 24 hours by 189 to 1,016, a rise of 23 percent, the country’s Civil Protection Agency said on Thursday.

In Italy, millions are locked down and hundreds of people have died from the coronavirus. But in South Korea, which was hit by the disease at about the same time, only a few thousand are quarantined and 67 people died.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic as Italy tightened its strict quarantine and the United States imposed a ban on flights to Europe.

More than 4,700 people have died and over 128,000 have been infected globally, according to the WHO. About 68,000 victims have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the virus.

The escalating coronavirus emergency has sent stocks crashing to their worst losses in 30 years.

Zhao Lijian, a top spokesman of the Chinese government and senior foreign ministry official, posted on social media on Friday a report published in a Canada-based conspiracy website suggesting that the coronavirus originated from the US.

“Just take a few minutes to read one more article. This is so astonishing that it changed many things I used to believe in. Please retweet to let more people know about it,” Zhao wrote on Twitter.

His post accompanied an article with the headline: ‘A shocking update. Did The Virus Originate in the US?’

Earlier, Zhao also posted a video of the US Congress hearing, suggesting that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was “caught on the spot” saying that “patient zero” began in the US. 

Indonesia will temporarily ban the export of face masks to safeguard domestic supply amid the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters news agency reported on Friday.

“We will issue a temporary export ban for mask products to meet demand from domestic industries and consumers,” Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto told reporters.

The ban will be kept in place until the government is satisfied local supply is adequate, he said.

Prices for face masks have jumped in some parts of Indonesia as buyers stock up on protective supplies such as masks and hand sanitisers due to worries about the coronavirus.

There are an estimated 34 cases in Indonesia, with one fatality and two recoveries.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, has tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to the prime minister’s office.

Trudeau’s office had earlier said that the Canadian first lady returned from a speaking engagement in Britain and had mild flu-like symptoms, including a low fever, late on Wednesday night.

The prime minister is quarantining himself at home.

The South China Morning Post reported that the first case of someone in China suffering from the coronavirus was traced back to November 17.

The Hong Kong-based newspaper and website cited government data from China.

The exclusive report said that a 55-year-old man from Hubei province may have been the first person to have contracted the deadly disease in mid-November last year.

Ends

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