WHO has named Kenya as one of the thirteen countries in Africa that is a priority zone with the likelihood of reporting Coronavirus infection due to its close association with China? As of 15th February 2020, Africa has reported one confirmed case of the Coronavirus in Egypt. The individual, who is a foreigner, tested positive and was in stable condition but placed in isolation for 15days.

The major scare Kenya experienced was on 28th Jan when a student studying in Wuhan landed at JKIA, having gone through Bangkok and Guangzhou from Zhangjiajie City, China. The student had presented with fever, which caused an alarm that led to his quarantine before tests from South Africa confirmed he was not infected.

So far, seven suspicious cases have raised concern in Kenya, and all have tested negative.


You may be wondering, Is Kenya ready for the Coronavirus?

Since the first scare of Coronavirus in KNH, the outgoing cabinet secretary said Kenya had prepared well in case of an outbreak. “Our systems are working, and we have the capacity and infrastructure to fight Coronavirus.” She remarked.

WHO announced the virus as a global emergency, which lead the world to try and equip African countries with the necessary diagnostic kits? Kenya received these kits which allow prompt testing of the virus locally shortening the time for getting the results and taking appropriate action.

Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and National Influenza Centre have been equipped by the government to test and compare the results for any suspicious sample.


How Else is Kenya Prepared?

Heightened surveillance and mandatory screening in all 34 entry points into the country.

The ministry of health has created a multi-agency task-force that includes ministries of defense, ministry of interior and coordination, and ministry of foreign affairs to lead and oversee the national preparedness.

Organizations like Kenya Red cross, National Influenza Centre, and Kenya Airport Authority are on high alert to deal with Coronavirus outbreak.

The government has set aside 120- bed isolation Centre at Mbagathi Hospital and 60- bed isolation ward at Kenyatta National Hospital.


Curious about The Coronavirus?

Human Coronavirus was first detected in the mid-1960s; since then, there have been six types of coronaviruses identified that affect human beings. The seventh addition being the 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan.

You may have gotten any of the four viruses at some point in your life as it causes the common cold or flu.

The other two Coronavirus that caused serious infections were the SARS-cov  in China in Nov 2002 and the MER-cov in Saudi Arabia in 2012. These two were as a result of spillover from animals – Civet cats and camels to be precise.


How sick can you get?

Do you know the terrible feeling you get when you have a cold? The coronavirus symptoms present in the same way.

A person experiences fever, sour throat, dry cough, and after a week or so, depending on the strength of the immunity, s/he starts having shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing, eventually, severe pneumonia sets in, which could be fatal.

The Kenyan authority made it clear that if you get flu-like symptoms and in the last 14 days you have traveled to a high-risk Coronavirus transmission area, you should cautiously present yourself to the hospital for further testing.


Can you be treated for 2019-nCoV?

There is no known cure for the Coronavirus, nor is there a vaccine that can prevent you from contracting the virus. Having a strong immunity increases the probability of fighting the infection to recovery.

Trials are being carried out by different organizations to see how effective some antiretroviral drugs are to manage the Coronavirus symptoms, but no specific combination have been recommended according to CDC.

Preventive Measures You Can Take against Coronavirus Spread

-Always wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based wipes/sanitizer

-Use a handkerchief or the folded part of your elbow to cover your mouth when coughing

-Lead a healthy lifestyle as survival from such viruses are higher with a strong immunity

-Avoid overcrowded places like airports until the global alert resolution

-Avoid touching your face outside your home


You are Yet to Breathe a Sigh of Relief

According to the situation report by WHO dated 15/02/2020, there are 50, 580 Coronavirus cases reported globally, the majority of which are in China, 1524 deaths with two mortality rate reported outside of China. The risk assessment level globally remains high.

There are new cases reported daily, no country is safe, you need to exercise care, even as the world hopes the virus will be contained soon.

If you have to travel outside Kenya, adhere to the required precautions set by the destination country. Take care of yourself while there as you will be actively taking part in protecting your fellow Kenyans when you come back.


Jane Kariuki is a Freelance Writer and Blogger trained in Clinical Medicine and Counseling Psychology. My passion is to share the knowledge I have gained in my professional field through writing.

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Jane Kariuki has written this article. Jane is one of the members of MeMA, trained in Clinical Medicine and Counselling Psychology



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