Chinese national quarantined in Kitui amid coronavirus scare

By Joel Muinde On Tue, 18 Feb, 2020 15:40 | 2 mins read
Coronavirus
WHO says all nations in sub-Saharan Africa will be able to test for the coronavirus "within a couple of weeks". PHOTO | AFP

Kitui County Commissioner John Ondego on Tuesday allayed fears of suspected coronavirus infection reported in a section of the press, saying the situation is under control.

Mr. Ondego said that the Chinese national, who jetted back into the country on February 16, 2020, has been put on isolation as a routine precautionary measure at the Sinohydro Corporation’s camp in Mutomo, Kitui South.

The Chinese firm has been contracted to build the Kibwezi-Kitui highway.

“Zhang Qiang had travelled from Beijing via Dubai to JKIA where he recorded body temperature of 36.6 degrees Celsius and this morning the county health surveillance team that visited the company site recorded his temperature at 35.9 Degrees Celsius,” said the county commissioner.

Mr. Ondego said that the county disease surveillance team has ruled that this is normal and there is no cause for alarm.

Mr. Qiang will continue to be monitored until the end of the 14-day period as part of the prevention and control measures.

“The government is strict on the admission of any suspected victim of coronavirus into the country. The suspected case has been ruled out since the countries that he passed through and boarded planes took precautionary measures before allowing him into the aircraft,” he said.

The county commissioner who held a meeting with the company’s chief engineer admitted that on Feb 13, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng said that the embassy would continue monitoring the entry of Chinese nationals into Kenya.

“The Embassy has required all Chinese nationals coming back from China to isolate themselves at home for 14 days even if. they have no symptoms,” said Mr Ondego.

The administrator said coronavirus has been hitting headlines in many countries’ media, including Kenya’s.

“Many of the reports offer objective information and reasonable analysis. We appreciate that. However, there are also some rumour and panic on the internet. Those rumours and panic are more frightening than the virus itself,” he said.

Mr. Ondego said that the issue of public health goes beyond national borders and requires the joint efforts of all sides, including the media.

Kitui County Chief Officer for Health and Sanitation, Mr. Richard Muthoka, confirmed that the Chinese has been quarantined at the company’s site.

Mr. Muthoka said that the patient was among 18 Chinese workers who returned to Kenya recently from vacation in China.

The new coronavirus was only discovered in December 2019 in Wuhan China.

So far seven people in Mombasa and Nairobi counties have been tested for coronavirus, with all confirmed negative.

Kenya had been identified as one of the 13 top priority countries in the region, which due to their direct links or high volume of travel to China need to be particularly vigilant for the novel coronavirus.

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