Kenya: New Directive for Chinese Travellers Entering Kenya

13 February 2020

Chinese nationals entering Kenya are required to self-isolate themselves for a period of no less than 15 days as part of fight against the new coronavirus, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng announced Thursday.

Mr Peng, who was speaking at a forum with Kenyan editors, said Kenyan students are safe in China adding that his government has the capacity and resources to manage the public health emergency effectively.


"I fully understand the concerns and fears of families of Kenyans living or studying in China, especially in Wuhan city. I wish to stress that, foreign nationals including Kenyan are safe in China," he said.

Last week, the association of Kenyan students studying in Wuhan asked the government to evacuate them stating that they were quickly running out of supplies and facing psychological torture.

"...There is no end in sight. The mental anguish that comes with staying in a place ravished by a deadly virus is hard to explain. I just want to come home," one of them said.

"My supply of basic needs is running low. Although I can buy them, the prices of most of these items have almost doubled. Recently, I bought two cabbages at 25 RMB (approx. Sh400).

"Ordinarily, both would not have cost me more than 8 RMB! Now imagine the cost accrued due to buying them in bulk, including other more expensive food items such as rice, potatoes and tomatoes whose prices have also hit the roof. In one shopping recently, I spent 245 RMB (about Sh3,500) for food items that would barely last four days," one of the students told the Saturday Nation.

On Thursday Mr Peng said that his government will provide good medical care, daily supplies and logistical support for the foreigners.

"All universities in China have taken strict measures to keep campuses far away from the epidemic. No cases of infection among Kenyans in China has been reported so far," he said.

Mr Peng said that it is wise, safe, and right for the students to stay in Wuhan and China for a while.

"The safest way for foreign nationals in Wuhan is to stay put and ensure effective self-protection. The hasty movement will only add more uncertainties. Some confirmed cases have been detected among some foreign evacuees, which increases the risk of further spread," he added.

In case of any help, he said, the Kenyan students and citizens can contact the local university and community authorities who are on duty 24 hours or contact the Chinese Embassy in Kenya through email or official social media account.

He added that the embassy's visa section is still open but he did not give a figure of Kenyans who have travelled to China since the Covid-19 (new coronavirus) broke out late last year.

As of Thursday, Chinese government figures showed that at least 59,885 people are infected by the virus and another 1,369 have died of the disease. The government said 6,000 people have cured of the disease in China (including HK, Macao and Taiwan).

A total of 395 cases including one death have been reported outside of China in 24 countries around the world.

With infections doubling every four days, China intensified its response in Wuhan, with house-to-house temperature checks and mass confinements at quarantine centres.

So far, data from the Ministry of Health, Kenya through its surveillance system, has been able to pick seven suspected cases who have all tested negative.

The Health Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki said that the government has the necessary capacity for in-country testing adding that a total of 99,706 travellers have been screened across various points of entry as at Monday this week.

"Ongoing mandatory screening in all points of entry including Mombasa sea port to minimise the risk of importation of the virus from affected countries," she said

Mr Peng expressed confidence that they will win the virus.

"Good news is that, as of Wednesday this week, the newly reported confirmed cases in China (excluding Hubei) has marked the 9th day of declining," he said.

On what the country is doing, Mr Peng said that they have been mobilizing a "People's War" and that all the 31 provinces in China's mainland have activated first-level public health emergency response, taking the most comprehensive and rigorous measures possible.

He said that experts have been deployed to the worst-hit areas. 67 billion yuan has been allocated for fighting the outbreak, and over 20 tons of medical supplies are being handled and delivered every hour. Patient subsidy policies implemented.

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