Nakuru: Chinese put in isolation over coronavirus fears, hunt for taxi driver on

Nakuru County Public Health Officer Elizabeth Kiptoo (left) demonstrates to health workers how to put on protective gear to handle suspected cases of coronavirus.

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A Chinese man who arrived in the country three days ago has been quarantined at his house in Nakuru.

According to authorities, the man had travelled to visit his family in China last December, before travelling back three days ago.

He arrived in Nakuru on Sunday showing symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection.

The man had taken a taxi from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to his house in Nakuru town’s Upper Hill Estate.

On Tuesday afternoon, neighbours reported to the local administration that the man who is a second-hand motor vehicle dealer, looked sickly.

Man Quarantined

Health officials and local administrators went to the man's house to assess his condition.

Nakuru Town West Deputy County Commissioner Elmi Shaffi told The Standard that he informed the medical health officer in charge of the sub-county, requesting for transfer of the man to a nearby facility, but was advised to have him quarantined.

The deputy county commissioner said public health officers were initially reluctant to visit the man in his house.

READ ALSO: China building special coronavirus hospital in just six days

“I informed medical officer to pick the patient with an ambulance to a nearby hospital but they informed me that he such patients could not be transferred because they can easily spread the virus," said Mr Shaffi.

According to a medic who requested anonymity, the patient is suffering from upper respiratory tract infection.

"Health workers are too scared of visiting him after he was found to have respiratory condition," he said.

Symptoms of the emerging virus include cough, respiratory infection symptoms, fever, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

According to the chief officer of public health, Samuel King’ori, the patient travelled from Mumbai and arrived at JKIA where he was screened.

King’ori said that the patient decided to isolate himself from his family.

The patient travelled from Mumbai and arrived at JKIA where he was screened.

“His family suspected he might have been infected with the virus. He is quarantined in the servant quarters,” said King’ori.

He said public health officers are monitoring the patient on a daily basis, including checking his temperatures.

King'ori said they were looking for taxi driver who drove the man to Nakuru.

READ ALSO: Man Utd star banned from training ground over coronavirus?

Training health workers

The case was reported as the Ministry of Health embarked on training 200 health workers to step up preparedness against the virus.

The health workers are also being trained on symptoms of the virus.

The ministry is collaborating with the Centre for Disease Control and Washington State University.

The training comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern on January 30.

Up to 24 countries have reported cases of coronavirus since it was first reported in Wuhan, China, on December 31, 2019.

“Four of the 24 countries report cases where likely exposure occurred outside the reporting country and outside China,” reads a WHO report.

Kenya is ranked sixth, among African countries, at the risk of the virus, according to a study by Northeastern University in the US.

Not coronavirus

This comes in the backdrop of medical officers in Kitui County ruling out the possibility of coronavirus in the county after a quarantined Chinese national tested negative for it yesterday.

According to police reports, the Chinese national, who is part of the team tarmacking the Kibwezi-Mutomo-Kitui road, had travelled to Kenya from China on Sunday night before he was isolated.

Yesterday, Paul Kibati, the Mutomo Sub-county medical officer, visited the team's campsite, which is about four kilometres from Mutomo town, to test the man in the company of county disease surveillance officers and a security team led by the sub-county police commander, Martin Kangala.

After several hours inside the campsite, which houses a number of other Chinese and local workers, the health officers said there was no cause for alarm.

Additional reporting by Philip Muasya.


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