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Kitui County Commissioner Ondego allays fears of Coronavirus

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

Ondego  said that the Chinese national, who jetted back into the country on February 16, 2020 working for the Sinohydro Corporation contracted to build the Kibwezi-Kitui Highway, is isolated for 14 days within the company’s camp in Mutomo, Kitui South as a routine precautionary measure before resuming duties.

“Zhang Qiang had travelled from Beijing via Dubai to JKIA where he recorded a 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 CC.

Ondego said that the county disease surveillance team have ruled that this is normal and there is no cause for alarm, he is not symptomatic according to their assessment though the isolated individual will continue to be monitored until the end of the 14 days.

‘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 CC  who held a meeting  with the Chief Engineer of the company admitted that on Feb 13, the  Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, Wu  Peng said that the embassy would continue monitoring the entry of Chinese nationals into Kenya and had instructed them to strictly adhere to the prevention and control measures.

“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 Ondego.

The  County chief 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.

Ondego noted that the issue of public health goes beyond national borders and requires the joint efforts of all sides, including the media, who should take up their due social responsibility in this battle against a common enemy of all mankind without speculation.

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

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 (2019-nCoV) whereby the Chinese laboratory had to describe its genetic make-up to confirm it is a new virus.

So far seven people in Mombasa and Nairobi counties have been tested for coronavirus (2019-nCoV) with all confirmed as negative coronavirus.

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.

By  Yobesh Onwong’a

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