Kenya: Coronavirus Fears - Mombasa Officials Say 'No Touching'

(file photo).

Health officials in Mombasa County have released a new set of rules in an attempt to avert spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Mombasa is among 14 counties listed as being at high risk for being a point of entry into Kenya and the East African region. It is also Kenya's tourism hub.

The other counties the Health ministry placed on high alert for the virus are Nairobi, Kisumu, Kiambu, Uasin Gishu, Kajiado, Busia, Migori, Kilifi, Kakamega, Kajiado, Nakuru, Wajir and Garissa.

A daily line list of travellers trooping to Mombasa from China has also been set up to help in the tracking of any suspected coronavirus case.

The disease was first reported in Wuhan, China, on December 31, 2019 and has killed at least 3,882 people so far. More than 111,000 people are infected worldwide.

The symptoms include fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.


Mombasa's health officials have advised residents to adhere to the rules as the virus continues to cause panic globally.

The rules advise against kissing, hugging and shaking hands.

Residents shall wash hands with running water and detergent or use hand sanitisers and self-quarantine in case of symptoms of the Covid-19 disease.

"To avert spread of the disease, let's hi-5 instead of shaking hands. Culturally, we are supposed to shake hands while greeting but because of the virus, let's adhere to the directive," said Public Health Chief Officer Aisha Abubakar.

She told those who develop symptoms not to mingle with the public and alert health authorities for examination.

She added: "If you identify a visitor from Japan and China, kindly alert us. We will come and examine them to ascertain if we can interact with them."


Speaking on Sunday, during International Women's Day celebrations at Mombasa showground in Mkomani, Ms Koitaba further urged residents to sensitise their relatives and neighbours on the virus.

She said the county will hold sensitisation forums as a preparedness measure.

"When coughing or sneezing always use a handkerchief. The disease spreads very fast. At our work stations; we share computers and furniture so let's wash them thoroughly," she said.

Ms Fatma Kushe, the county assembly's Health committee vice-chair, urged residents to seek medical attention in public hospitals if they exhibit the symptoms.

"Don't kiss, don't hug or shake hands. Let's just wave. This disease spreads very fast. Let's thoroughly wash our hands. Prevention is better than cure," she reiterated.

Health executive Hazel Koitaba also emphasised the preventative measures.


Mombasa has set up an isolation ward at Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital (CGTRH), the largest health facility in the region, to quarantine any suspected case.

"The site is to be used to quarantine suspected cases or to isolate confirmed cases. It has adequate personal protective equipment and personnel specially trained to handle cases," said Ms Koitaba.

She said other other health facilities around the county were encouraged to set up isolation centres.

Ms Koitaba further said that the department and the port health authorities regularly share updates on suspected cases entering the county.

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