By Sharon Atieno

The Ministry of Health has confirmed the first positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Kenya. 

The 27 year old lady, a Kenyan citizen had travelled to Nairobi from the United States of America (US) through London, the United Kingdom (UK). She arrived in the country on 5th March.

“The lady was very responsible and took herself to the hospital as soon as she started experiencing the symptoms,” Mutahi Kagwe, the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Health said. “She has given us names of all the people she has been in contact with.”

He noted that all the passengers who were in contact with her in the flight had been traced and that the countries involved had been contacted.

This comes few days after US President, Donald Trump imposed a ban on flights from Europe in a bid to combat the spread of the disease.

Apart from South Africa and Algeria- which have cases of transmission linked to imported cases- the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the African region are sporadic importations from European countries, mainly Italy , France, Germany and Spain.

Kenya adds to the growing list of African countries that have reported COVID-19 after South Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Algeria and Democratic Republic of Congo among others.

Kagwe urged Kenyans to be responsible and if they noticed any symptoms should self-isolate and withdraw from others and if they can, should find their way to the hospital. He also encouraged people to maintain high standards of hygiene.

In addition, the health CS assured Kenyans not to panic noting that the country was sufficiently prepared to handle COVID-19. As precautionary measures, Kenya has listed 13 countries as high risk and banned flights from China and Italy. Locally, all public rallies have been banned including interschool games.

The World Health 0rganization, estimates that as of 12th March, 4,600 people have died and over 126,000 people infected globally. So far, COVID-19 cases have been reported in about 115 countries.