Kenyan authorities have cleared 239 passengers who arrived at the capital’s main international airport on Wednesday aboard a China Southern Airlines flight.
All the passengers were screened on board and allowed to enter the country moments after the aircraft landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
The ministry of health said the passengers were advised to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution against the possible spread of coronavirus. This was the first time such a large number of passengers have been told to self-isolate.
This was China Southern Airlines’ first flight on the reopened Guangzhou-Nairobi route since it was suspended two weeks ago. It will now provide one flight per week on this route, down from four per week.
Health Minister Sicily Kariuki said in a statement that a total of 17 suspected cases had been reported in the country but they all tested negative for the virus.
She also advised Kenyans against non-essential travel to countries with confirmed coronavirus cases.
Many Kenyans on social media expressed disbelief at the government’s decision to let in the passengers from China.
On Wednesday, Algeria became the second country in Africa to confirm a coronavirus case after Egypt. The country’s health ministry said the patient arrived from Italy on 17 February.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Africa regional director Matshidiso Moeti has warned that Africa’s “window of opportunity to prepare for the COVID19 disease is closing”.
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