Kenyans in Wuhan Resort to Video Plea Over COVID-19

18 February 2020

Groups of Kenyan students in China are videotaping their anxious pleas to the government, asking to be evacuated.

The students from Wuhan City, the epicentre of the coronavirus, have done a short video pleading with the government to evacuate them the country.

In the video, a masked student says she needs medical attention due to her condition, but the situation at the moment makes it impossible to get treatment.

"Some of us have medical conditions that need frequent medical attention, but the outbreak has made it impossible to get out," she said.

One student after another pleads with the government to evacuate them, saying the situation is becoming unbearable.

"I am pleading with the Kenyan government to move swiftly to evacuate us because we're currently on total lockdown," he says.

The students say they fear they could be pawns in a larger geopolitical game given Kenya is a weaker partner in the current relationship with China.

HEALTH RISK

Kenya's Ambassador to China, Sarah Serem, has expressed fear over the lives of Kenyan students trapped in the city.

Ms Serem, who was speaking to a local television station, said more than 100 students are trapped and are unable to come out over health risks associated with the virus that has so far claimed the lives of 1,770 people.

"Going through the daily updates on the impact of coronavirus pandemic, reading the number of infections, number of deaths, those in critical condition and in Wuhan, where we have close to 100 students, sends a chill down my spine," she said.

Meanwhile, a 21-year-old Cameroonian student living in the Chinese city of Jingzhou, who is the first African to contract and recover from the scourge, was apprehensive about travelling to Africa and potentially spreading it.

Mr Kem Senou Pavel Daryl, who is now under a 14-day quarantine, had no intention of going back to Cameroon even as he suffered from bouts of fever, cough and shortness of breath, symptoms of the Covid-19 causing novel coronavirus.

"No matter what happens, I don't want to take the sickness back to Africa," he told BBC from his university dormitory.

CONTROL MEASURES

The illness made him recall a time he contracted malaria while growing up in Cameroon, which made him fear for the worst.

"On my way to the hospital for the first time, I was thinking about my death and how I imagined it was going to happen," he said.

He was placed in isolation for 13 days in a local hospital and treated with antibiotics and began to show signs of recovery within two weeks.

Globally, over 70,000 people have been infected while about 10,000 have recovered.

On February 14, Egypt confirmed its first case, the first in Africa, from a foreigner whose nationality was not disclosed.

Kenya has put in place measures to prevent the virus from getting its way into the country, with Kenya Airways suspending flights to Guangzhou in January.

Two new testing facilities were recently set up, as laboratories at the National Influenza Centre, which is under the National Public Health Laboratories and Kenya Medical Research Institute are to begin testing samples.

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