The Government has stepped up preparedness measures through heightened surveillance system at all points of entry, health facilities and communities across the country to ensure that there is no importation of COVID-19 into the country
There is mandatory screening at all points of entry to minimize the risk of importation of the virus from affected countries.
Kenya has so far investigated thirteen alerts that have all tested negative for COVID-19 with two of the cases having been investigated on Tuesday in Mutomo, Kitui and Kilimani Nairobi. All the cases did not meet the WHO case definition criteria.
In a press release on Wednesday to update on coronavirus, the Ministry of health said measures have been put in place to safeguard public health safety by using a multi-agency approach.
A National Contingency Plan to guide implementation of priority preparedness and response activities in view of the potential threat posed by importation of COVID-19 into Kenya is also in place
Further the ministry has put up an activation of Emergency Operations Centre that is closely monitoring the evolution of the outbreak in China and the rest of the world as well as trained rapid response teams who are on standby to investigate any alert in the country.
“Sensitization of health workers in both public and private health facilities and at points of entry on how to deal with suspected cases has been done. Five hundred health care workers have also been trained and additional health workers have been deployed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)”, the statement said.
Members of the public have been encouraged to remain vigilant as the risk is still high and advised to continue taking precautionary measures by maintaining basic hand and respiratory hygiene, safe food practices and also avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
In addition, MOH says that anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever, coughing, difficulty in breathing and sneezing with a history of recent travel to China is advised to go to the nearest health facility for assessment and prompt management.
“We are advising Kenyans against non-essential travel to affected countries and incase of suspected cases, citizens can report to the Ministry of Health through hotline numbers: 0800721316, 0732353535 and 0729471414.
Information from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that as at yesterday 18th February 2020, 73,332 confirmed cases had been reported globally and 1,870 deaths majority from mainland China.
By Wangari Ndirangu