The last three days have been a mix of panic, confusion, and misinformation in Kenya. Fears over coronavirus have engulfed the public mood as the authorities try to reassure the country.
Kenyans have been flocking to shopping centers to stock up on foodstuffs and other sanitary items. Technical experts have filled television shows sharing their expert opinion on the Covid-19.
The country reported its first case on March 13th. The announcement was made by the Cabinet Secretary of Health Mutahi Kagwe who confirmed that the patient was a Kenyan citizen who traveled back to Nairobi from the United States through London. She was deemed so by the National Influenza Center laboratory and the National Public Health laboratories.
Twenty-seven other people of mixed nationalities who came into contact with the first patient are also being quarantined. Thus far two more people have tested positive as of March 15th. The CS confirmed that the patients are in stable condition and are responding well to treatment. The quarantine is being done at the Kenyatta Hospital monitoring facility. Of the three positive cases of Covid-19, two are attributed to foreign travel while one is a community-level case. The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta tried to reassure the public by announcing additional emergency measures
such as barring entry of nationals from countries with confirmed coronavirus cases. Exceptions will be given to Kenyan citizens and foreigners with valid residency permits on condition that they are capable of observing the self-quarantine or submit to government-designated quarantine centers.
The government suspended
learning in all educational institutions in accordance with the Public Health Act derivative
signed by the Cabinet Secretary of Health. Primary and secondary day schools will suspend operations on the 16th of the month and boarding schools will follow two days later. Tertiary and higher learning centers will close down on the 20th.
Work from home
Companies and public institutions are strongly urged by the government to let their employees work from home.
Embrace of cashless economy
The government also encouraged the use of cashless transactions that encourage the adoption of a cashless economy. The most popular form of money transfer in Kenya is mobile money. Kenya telecommunication giant Safaricom waived
user transaction fees to facilitate the cashless circulation of money as it is one form of passing infection.
Avoid public events
All public events and congregations have been banned
or discouraged. This covers places of worship, social gatherings such as funerals and weddings and any other crowded areas like shopping malls.
Order in hospitals
There will be limited access to visitors flocking hospitals to visit their ill relatives.
Sanitary public hospital and transport facilities
Public transport services have been directed to prevent congestion. Hospitals and shopping malls will have to provide water, soap and hand sanitizers to prevent any passing of infections.
Personal hygiene campaign
A nationwide campaign of personal hygiene and counter to misinformation has been advocated for.The last two days have seen a rush to the supermarkets to purchase items and goods. In most pharmacies and shopping centers, hand sanitizers have all sold out. The Competition Authority of Kenya
has given a stern directive to retailers hoarding essential goods. Also read:
Public opinion on the Kenyan streets is varied. Public transport operatives are on the spotlight given the recent scrutiny on how it can be an easy conduit for the spread of the virus. A mix of paranoia, underestimation of the virus potency and ignorance is currently prevailing.The government spokesperson Cyrus Oguna assured
the country that the government has enough kits to test all who required a test. Citizens can also procure the tests from the commercial market. He also gave out the coronavirus emergency dial number *791#. All 34 points of entry into the country are on high alert and are carrying out screening for all persons coming in. Ph: Fresnel / Shutterstock.com