Coronavirus scare as second Kenyan is hospitalised
Panic has engulfed medics in two hospitals in Mombasa following a suspected case of coronavirus involving a Kenyan medical student who arrived in the country on Thursday.
The female student is said to have developed symptoms of the deadly scourge that broke out in China but has now thrown the whole world into a spin.
She was first taken to a private facility in Mombasa when she complained of feeling unwell before being transferred to the Coast General Hospital on Friday where she is being kept in isolation as medics conduct tests.
At the same time, one more patient was yesterday quarantined at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) after showing signs of the virus.
The person, who landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) had travelled from Beijing and boarded a Kenya Airways flight in Dubai. Details of the patient at KNH remained scanty.
The patient at the Coast hospital is reported to have travelled from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus emerged, on January 20 to Zhangjiajie city before leaving for Nairobi through Guangzhou and Bangkok, Thailand, on January 27, landing at JKIA on Thursday morning at 0615 hours.
Already, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a global emergency as the virus ravages China, where the outbreak has claimed more than 300 people, a majority from Hubei province. More than 14,000 people have been infected.
Doctors and other medics at the facilities, who handled the suspected case, have been asked to report any unusual condition in their bodies as the hospital awaits test results on the patient.
According to Mombasa County Health chief officer Dr Khadija Shikely, the 22-year-old student who studies medicine at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou was seen at Mombasa hospital on January 31 after her arrival from China.
“She started feeling unwell while in China and was complaining of chest pain and difficulty in breathing, we are monitoring her keenly awaiting the blood samples analysis,” said Shikely.
The official said the case has not been confirmed to be coronavirus, adding that social media reports on her condition are inaccurate at the moment.
“We have sent the blood samples to the Medical Officer of Health in Nairobi for screening to ascertain whether it is the virus or what disease it could be. The patient is under strict isolation because we are not taking any chances,” she added.
A doctor, who is attending to the patient at CPGH, said she is in stable condition awaiting the laboratory test results for the blood samples taken to Kenyatta National Hospital for analysis.
“We are attending to her as a special patient, nobody is allowed to visit her except the nurses who are attending to her. She is progressing well. Even her temperature is just reading normal,” said the doctor who is not allowed to speak to the media.
A spot-check by the People Daily at the private wing of the hospital yesterday established that the entrance has been locked and the security guard was under strict instructions not to allow anyone near the area.
The student was isolated two days after Kenya Airways temporarily suspended its flights to Guangzhou following an intense public outcry.
“We have temporarily suspended all flights to and from Guangzhou starting Friday January 31, 2020, until further notice,” said the airline in a statement
The national carrier added that it was working with the Health and Foreign Affairs ministries and would provide updates as the situation develops.
The Foreign Affairs ministry, through Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau, has advised Kenyans against travelling to China unless it is extremely necessary.
“Those on essential travel must comply with additional screening measures that have been put in place by authorities,” he said.
Last Friday, the outgoing Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki revealed that a Kenyan student whose blood samples were flown to South Africa for analysis tested negative for the virus.
She insisted that the country was well equipped to guard against the outbreak of the virus in the country.