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Kenya's coronavirus results negative - CS Kariuki

The 22-year-old male student who was isolated at KNH is expected to be released anytime

In Summary

•The samples were first tested at the Kenya Medical Research Institute and turned negative, then sent to South Africa for confirmation.

Health CS Sicily Kariuki
CONFIRMATION Health CS Sicily Kariuki
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

The case of coronavirus suspected in Kenya has turned out negative, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the tests done in Kenya and in South Africa had turned out negative.

"I can confirm that results on suspected coronavirus case sent to South Africa for validation are negative," she said.

The samples were first tested at the Kenya Medical Research Institute and turned negative.

More samples were sent to South Africa and yesterday morning, the country was told they had also tested negative for coronavirus.

The 22-year-old male student, who was isolated at Kenyatta National Hospital, is expected to be released anytime.

The Kenyan student left Wuhan City in China, the epicentre of the epidemic, on Monday last week and travelled 400km away to Zhangjiajie City in Hunan province.

He stayed there and later travelled about 900km to the western city of Guangzhou.

"The traveler reported he had not been in contact with a known case of novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV)," Kariuki said.

He flew from Guangzhou on Monday this week on a Kenya Airways flight to Nairobi through Bangkok, Thailand.

He arrived at JKIA on Tuesday morning at 0615 hours.

Kenya Airways said they noticed the passenger was unwell and isolated him on the flight to Nairobi.

The crew also notified health authorities in Nairobi before the flight landed.

"Decision to quarantine the passenger was reached by the Kenya Government port health authorities stationed at JKIA. The Kenyan passenger had been cleared to travel by the China port health authorities at the Guangzhou Airport," KQ said in a statement.

The procedure at the airport of departure is that all passengers are required to undergo quarantine screening by the health authorities before being cleared to board any aircraft.

"Upon being cleared, our staff notifies the Kenya Government port health authorities who then take precautionary measures including further screening on arrival," KQ explained.

Kariuki said the student was immediately isolated in a temporary holding room at JKIA on arrival and later transferred to the Infectious Disease Unit, KNH, for investigation and admission.

The student is the first person to be tested for the virus.

The World Health Organisation on Thursday declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. 

Such a declaration would lead to a boost in public health measures, funding and resources to prevent and reduce international spread.

The measures could include recommendations on trade and travel, including airport screening of passengers, which is already happening in Kenya.