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Ebola: Save lives, Brand Kenya

Friday, August 15, 2014 - 00:00 -- BY STAR EDITOR

The World Health Organization, the Kenya Medical Association and Korean Air have issued the most strident warnings about the imminence of the Ebola threat in Kenya yet.

And yet the Kenyan authorities are still dragging their feet and responding with only the feeblest PR gestures. National flag carrier Kenya Airways is holding on to its lucrative West African routes as if they were the only business on its portfolio.

On Wednesday, WHO classified Kenya as a high-risk country for the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, as a major transport hub with many flights from West Africa, epicentre of the latest outbreak.

Yesterday, Korea Air tweeted that it was suspending flights to and from Nairobi as a prevention measure against the spread of the virus, citing concerns about poor screening of passengers from the Ebola-hit zones.

Yesterday, too, the KMA faulted all the measures by government to prevent the spread of Ebola, dismissing them as little more than a PR gimmick.

KMA recommended much more stringent, but patently impracticable, measures, among them lengthy quarantines at JKIA. Ebola has a 21-day gestation period.

The government needs to get serious. An Ebola outbreak against the backdrop of the WHO and KMA warnings would result in serious long term-damage to the nation brand and destination-of-choice credentials. This is a time for decisive, strategic and life-saving actions.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon." — Corsican emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769