Kenya Airways Issues Update on China Flights After Coronavirus Scare

  • National carrier Kenya Airways on Wednesday, January 29 issued an update on flights to China after a suspected case of the deadly Coronavirus was reported on Tuesday, January 28.

    According to reports published by the Daily Nation, and Business Daily the airline stated that it would not suspend its scheduled flights to China, further noting that they were monitoring the situation and would take action as necessary.

    This came even as Kenya's ambassador to China Sarah Serem requested the airline to suspend its flights to China where the virus originated in the country's Wuhan Province.

    In a statement, Serem further noted that she had cut short her annual leave to offer assistance to a number of Kenyan students who remain stranded in Wuhan.

    Kenya Ambassador to China Sarah Serem addressing a press conference in Nairobi on July 10, 2017

    "The Chinese government has taken the appropriate steps to address the situation in Wuhan which includes quarantining those who are infected and isolating those who are yet to contract the infection, which includes our Kenyan students there and also Chinese citizens.

    "It is impossible for the embassy to evacuate the Kenyans who are in Wuhan right now until they are confirmed to be free of the infection. However, we are closely monitoring their status and we have made every effort to ensure that they are comfortable during this time,"  Serem told reporters.

    A student who flew from China on Tuesday, January 28, was rushed to isolation at the Infectious Disease Unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) after exhibiting symptoms of the virus upon screening at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

    The Ministry of Health convened a press conference announcing that specimens had been taken to the National Influenza Center for further examination to confirm any potential infection.

    "On examination, the suspected case was found to be in stable condition with all vital signs within normal ranges.

    "Following admission at the KNH, appropriate specimens have been collected for investigation at the National Influenza Center," the statement read in part.

    The Foreign Affairs ministry also advised Kenyans against travelling to China unless it was absolutely necessary.

    “Kenyans are urged to avoid non-essential travel to Wuhan until the situation there is contained. Those on essential travels must comply with additional screening measures that have been put in place by authorities,” stated Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau.

    Kenyans were further advised by the Health Ministry to observe safe food and hygiene practices to reduce the risk of infection. The deadly virus has so far killed a reported 130 people with the death toll rising.

    "We wish to advise members of the public to Maintain basic hand & respiratory hygiene, safe food practices, avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections," Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki advised.

    Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki addresses a press conference on Tuesday, January 28 alongside Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna