Kenyan Ambassador Cancels Leave After Deadly Virus Outbreak

  • Kenya's Ambassador to China, Sarah Serem, on Wednesday, January 28, announced the cancellation of her annual leave to travel to Asia to address the growing fear of the safety of Kenyans living in the country after the outbreak of the Coronavirus.  

    Speaking during a live interview with Citizen TV, Serem indicated that Kenyan Embassy in Beijing was open to all, refuting claims that the envoy had turned a cold shoulder on Kenyans living in the country.

    "I am cancelling my leave and will fly to China today evening to address any concern about the safety of Kenyans. The offices in China are open for 24 hours and anyone with a complaint can visit it any time," remarked Serem.

    Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki addressing a press conference alongside Government Spokesperson Colonel (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna on Tuesday, January 28

    Serem also indicated that the Kenyan government was in contact with the Chinese government to avoid more infections.

    "I am in contact with the Ministry of Health in China which is more critical because it has information about the virus and can attend to any emergency that arises.

    "They are giving a minute to minute update from every province," remarked Serem.

    The ambassador also stated that contrary to earlier reports, the Kenyan government is in contact with Kenyan students in Wuhan and other parts of China.

    "We are in contact with the students on the ground who are giving us an update of how they are fairing and their health state is also good.

    "The government is making sure that those in the area are not exposed to the virus that could lead to infections," added Serem.

    However, Serem did not heed to the plan of evacuating the students and other Kenyans from China, stating that other methods could still be effective to ensure their safety.

    “The option of evacuation should not be an immediate concern, I think the best option is to contain it," added Serem.

    On Tuesday, January 28 the government, through the Ministry of Health, issued a statement on the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) after a Kenyan student from China was admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) for exhibiting symptoms of the deadly virus.

    The Administration Block at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH)

    The student arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Tuesday, January 28, from Guangzhou, China.

    The ministry indicated that upon screening at the airport, he was found to have a fever and was quickly rushed to isolation in a temporary holding room at the airport.

    The student was later transferred to the Infectious Disease Unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) where he was admitted.