Coronavirus: CS Omamo on the spot over China flight

Written By: Margaret Kalekye/Samuel Musita

The Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychel Omamo was at pains Thursday morning to explain how the country is prepared to prevent the spread of Coronavirus with members of the Departmental Committee on Foreign Relations describing her responses as unsatisfactory and casual.

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Members of the committee led by Katoo Ole Metito wondered why Chinese from the epicentre of the epidemic were being allowed into Kenya yet the government is hesitant in evacuating Kenyans who are under lockdown in Wuhan city China.

Omamo’s response was however not convincing as she said an inter-ministerial committee and the cabinet ad-hoc committee formed to address threats posed by the virus are regularly meeting to reviewing the situation in Wuhan in order to take appropriate action.

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She was also non-committal when asked whether the country is considering banning airlines from China and other countries that have reported high cases of Coronavirus.

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The flight from China was dealt with in accordance with WHO guidelines. All the passengers are under self-quarantine

The CS was summoned a day after China Western Airline landed in Nairobi with 239 passengers from Guangzhou.

Kenyans took to social media platforms to express their fury over the decision to allow the direct flight from China into the country amid coronavirus fears.

The Ministry of Health reportedly advised the passengers who arrived in the country to quarantine themselves for 14 days after being cleared at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

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CS Omamo said the flight from China was dealt with in accordance with WHO guidelines saying all the passengers are under self-quarantine a remark that drew a backlash from the MPs.

“Those who entered the country yesterday (Wednesday) were duly monitored. We are doing everything to ensure the disease does not make reach here” she said.

Omamo admitted that the matter was serious and should be addressed by relevant authorities, in particular, the Ministry of Health.

“There is a need for a much deeper and broader statement on the management of the disease. The MOH should address the above matter. Ours as Ministry of Affairs is to ensure our Kenyans are safe abroad” explained Omamo.

The Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health Rashid Aman sought to also dispel fears that the government is ill-prepared to fight the disease saying there are elaborate plans to contain the disease should anyone test positive for the virus.

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Aman also pointed out they were adhering to the WHO guidelines in managing any situation of its citizens across the globe in the face of the deadly disease.

Over 300,000 people have been screened in all entry points with 17 alerts recording negative for Coronavirus.

CAS Rashid Aman also dispelled fears of a Kenyan living in Vienna Austria contracting the deadly coronavirus saying the reports are not accurate as they are yet to receive information regarding any Kenyan being infected with the virus.


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