The Kenyan government announced on Thursday, March 12, that all Kenyan nationals and foreign travelers who have traveled to "high risk areas" for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-quarantine for at least 14 days due to the outbreak. However, authorities did not specifiy the countries that will be affected by the latest measures. Individuals entering Kenya will need to undergo mandatory screenings at all points of entry into the country. Separately, the Ministry of Health has temporarily lifted the ban on flights from Italy to Kenya as of Friday, March 6.
As a precautionary measure, all international conferences, meetings, and events will be suspended for 30 days from Thursday, March 12. Government officials will also be banned from undertaking non-essential travel out of the country. Authorities have advised the public to remain vigilant as the risk of transmission is still high, and to continue taking precautionary measures such as maintaining good hygiene and to seek treatment when experiencing respiratory symptoms. Individuals that are suspected to be infected with the virus can call the Ministry of Health at 0800721316, 0732353535, or 0729471414.
To date, there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in Kenya. Further international spread of the virus is likely over the coming weeks.
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 March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble 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.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.