Kenya Airways Suspends Flights to China

  • UPDATE:

    The Ministry of Health announced that test results for the suspected Coronavirus case had come back negative.

    Kenya Airways has suspended all scheduled flights to Guangzhou, China following the Coronavirus outbreak that has so far left over 200 people around the world dead.

    The airline operates two daily non-stop flights on the Nairobi-Guangzhou route thrice a week.

    In a statement issued on Friday, January 31, the company, however, noted that flights to Bangkok, Thailand would remain operational.

    "We apologise to all our customers for the inconvenience and reaffirm that the safety of our customers and staff remains the highest priority," the airline statement read in part.

    Kenya Airways planes pictured at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

    The deadly new Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) originated in the Wuhan Province of China.

    Kenya's ambassador to China Sarah Serem had on Wednesday, 29 January called on the airline to suspend all flights to the Asian nation.

    Announcing that she had cut short her leave, Serem promised to offer assistance to several Kenyan students who are stuck in Wuhan. She, however, failed to give any assurances on evacuating the students out of the country.

    "I would not advise trying to extract Kenyans in Wuhan until we are sure they are safe from the virus, let us be patient for a resolution, Kenyans are safe and no one has been reported to be infected with the virus,” she told reporters.

    The airline confirmed that they were in consultations with the Ministry of Health and Foreign Affairs over the situation that was on Thursday, January 30 declared a global health emergency.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the decision was informed by fears that the virus could spread to countries with weak public health management systems.

    "The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries," stated WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

    On Tuesday, January 28, a Kenyan student who returned from China was quarantined at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

    He had exhibited symptoms of the virus upon screening at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday, January 30 announced that samples taken from the student had been taken to South Africa for further analysis to confirm test results indicated by the National Influenza Center where the specimens were first taken.

    "Results carried out on the case in isolation at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) have been sent to South Africa for further analysis, to have a clear guideline on how we can move on once we have established that our results are correct," Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki noted.

    The statement issued by Kenya Airways on Friday, January 31