Friday, February 28, 2020

Chinese plane lands in Kenya. Passengers 'advised to self-quarantine'

One of my concerns about the coronavirus outbreak was that it might take hold in Africa where countries’ health systems are fragile.

So, I don’t want to be unnecessarily alarmist, but this is alarming.

Africa, specifically Kenya, is now a potential site of the coronavirus. About a day ago (Thursday Kenya time), a Chinese flight carrying 239 people landed in Kenya.

Most immediately (FEBRUARY 28, 2020 / 4:28 AM), Reuters reports that Kenya’s high court orders suspension of flights from China over coronavirus.

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya’s High Court on Friday ordered flights from China to be temporarily suspended over the coronavirus outbreak, following a petition by the Law Society of Kenya.

“I find that unless conservatory orders sought are granted Kenyans will continue to be exposed to the deadly disease coronavirus,” Judge James Makau said.

Kenya has had no confirmed cases of the disease.

Yet. That plane already landed causing an Uproar as Chinese plane lands in Kenya with 239 onboard. Kenyans took to social media to express their displeasure over Kenya resuming China flights.

The Turkish Andolu Agency reports from NAIROBI, Kenya.

A China Southern Airlines flight landed Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya with 239 people, triggering anger and shock across the East African country.

The incident comes after Kenya announced Wednesday that it had resumed flights to China.

Kenyans raised concern on social media, questioning the country’s preparedness to deal with the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID–19, at a time when many African countries have ceased operating China flights.

Activist Boniface Mwangi posed a question to Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta.

“Does Uhuru love this country? Because if he did, no Chinese flight would be allowed to land in Kenya as long as the coronavirus remains a threat. Our health system can’t handle a coronavirus outbreak.

Another netizen, Nick Nimrod, chimed in.

Just imagine China – with all the first-class resources, they haven’t managed to contain the virus from spreading for a whole two months…Now imagine how long it will take Kenya…How long Nairobi will be a ghost town…How bad the economy will hit us."

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo assured the country at a press briefing that measures were put in place to ensure that the 239 Chinese passengers traveling to Kenya were free of the disease.

More than 100 Kenyan students are stranded in China due to the outbreak there. -

Algeria and Egypt meanwhile have confirmed cases of COVID–19.

The East African reports that Kenyans to expect more flights from China.

There will be more flights from China to Kenya’s capital Nairobi in the coming weeks, the Chinese embassy has confirmed, amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak in Kenya.

Planes carrying Chinese expatriates, workers and traders are expected to land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) despite the government’s refusal to evacuate Kenyans stuck in the country, where the deadly virus originated.

On Wednesday, the embassy confirmed that China Southern Airlines had resumed flights from Guangzhou to Nairobi.

A statement to newsrooms said, however, that there will be just one flight a week until March 25.

The embassy said it notified Kenya’s health ministry in advance of the screening of all the travellers for the virus named Covid–19.

They were all cleared and advised to self-quarantine for 14 days, the statement said, without detailing the measure.

“advised to self-quarantine”? And every single one of those 239 people will take that advice? And “just one flight a week”?

In additional reporting from Standard Digital Unlike Kenya, countries are going ham on deadly coronavirus.

Kenya now joins Iran in the decimal list of countries that do not quarantine people arriving from China. Iran, an Asian country to the West of virus-hit China is already paying the price – it has recorded 19 deaths and 139 positive cases in the past week.

Many are now arguing Kenya is walking Iran’s path as it seems to go slow on the precautionary measures against the virus spread if yesterday’s occurrence is anything to go by.

Pardon my pessimism.

P. S.

One definition of “going ham” is putting forth extra effort.

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