The Ministry of Health confirmed the first case of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case in Nairobi on 12th March 2020.
Two more cases of Coronavirus were confirmed on Sunday which caused President Uhuru Kenyatta to give fresh guidelines on measures to curb the spread of the virus.
The two tested positive after coming into contact with the first patient and all are being treated at the Kenyatta National Hospital’s isolation facility.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had in February issued an Executive Order establishing a National Emergency Response Committee to be chaired by then newly-appointed Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, with members drawn from other ministries, to evaluate and enhance preparedness by equipping all Level Five Hospitals by mid-March.
“The committee shall coordinate Kenya’s preparedness, prevention and response to the threat of the coronavirus disease,” read a section of the Executive Order 2.
Their mandate, the president said, also extends to “formulating, enforcing and reviewing of processes and requirements that regulate the entry into Kenya of any persons or class of persons known or suspected to have travelled from a Coronavirus affected area.”
Isolation and treatment centres
A national isolation and treatment centre was later set up at Mbagathi Hospital which was completed in a record weeks’ time to receive patients.
Health officials in some of the 14 counties placed on high alert for coronavirus have released rules to help avert the spread of the disease in the event a case is reported in the county.
The counties are Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Kiambu, Uasin Gishu, Kajiado, Busia, Migori, Kilifi, Kakamega, Kajiado, Nakuru, Wajir and Garissa.
The counties have been placed on high alert given their status as points of entry or their proximity to those that are points of entry.
In Mombasa, Kenya’s tourism hub and the gateway to East Africa, a daily line list of travellers trooping to the town from China has been set up to help in the tracking of suspected cases.
All night clubs and discos will remain closed for 30 days but bars and hotels will however remain open till 11pm. They will be required to provide patrons with hand sanitizers.
The county will also require ferry attendants to provide sanitizers for all the passengers using the ferry at any given time at both ends.
Public servants have been banned from non-essential travel to countries that have been affected by the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
In a statement to newsrooms Thursday evening, Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna further advised the public to also avoid undertaking any non-essential travel.
Kenya has also suspended travel for all persons coming into Kenya from countries with reported cases of the virus. The suspension which was issued on Sunday will take effect in the next 48 hours and will not affect Kenyans and foreigners with valid permits to work in the country.
President Kenyatta urged those that arrived in the country in the last 14 days to self-quarantine and encouraged those that may exhibit symptoms such as cough, or fever to seek urgent medical attention at the nearest health facility.
The Ministry of Health issues precautionary measures to Kenyans
All Kenyans should observe the following:
- Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
2. Maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (5 feet) between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Persons with a cough or sneezing should stay home or keep a social distance, but avoid mixing with others in a crowd.
3. Maintain good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing with a handkerchief, tissue, or into a flexed elbow.
4. Stay at home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing.
5. Suspend all public gatherings, meetings, religious crusades games events etc. Normal church services can go on provided they provide sanitizing/and hand washing.
- All schools should be closed
- Public transport providers are directed to provide hand sanitizers for their clients and regular cleaning of the vehicles.
6. Temporary suspension of prison visits for the next 30 days.
7. Kenyans must not abuse social media platforms or indulge in spreading misinformation that can cause fear and panic.
8. Travel restrictions outside the country unless absolutely necessary and no travel to disease Epicenter countries.
- Dissemination of information on a daily basis.
These measures will remain in force for the next 30 days.
The Ministry of Health also said that they will continue to provide regular updates and further communication will follow from the respective government agencies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states there are 153,648 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and 5,746 deaths from 146 countries. Top ten nations with cases are: China (81,048), Italy (21,157), Iran (12,729), Republic of Korea (8,162), Spain (5,753), France (4,469), Germany (3,795), United States of America (1,678), Switzerland (1,359) and United Kingdom (1,144). In Africa, Senagal has 24 cases, Guinea (1), Mauritania (1), Algeria (37), Tunisia (18), Sudan (1), Cameroon (3), Congo (1), Namibia (2), South Africa (61), Reunion Island (6), Mayotte (1), Ethiopia (1), Kenya (3) and Seychelles (2).
The first case of Coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, China late last year.