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29 Feb 2020 | 04:17 AM UTC

Kenya: Government temporarily suspends flights from China February 28 /update 1

The High Court temporarily suspends all flights from China due to COVID-19 on February 28; further spread of the virus expected in the near term

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KEN

Event

The High Court of Kenya announced on Friday, February 28, that all flights from China will be temporarily suspended in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It remains unclear how long the flight ban will be in effect.

Kenya Airlines previously announced that it would suspend its flights to mainland China as of Friday, January 31, until further notice. Guangzhou is the airline's only destination in China. 

As of Saturday, February 29, no COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "'very high' at global level."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries and consider rebooking options, if needed, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. 

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran, who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.