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06.02.2020 Health

Kenya To Send Back Students From Coronavirus-Hit China

Kenya To Send Back Students From Coronavirus-Hit China
LISTEN FEB 6, 2020

Kenya plans to repatriate its 85 students who are stranded in China's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, and quarantine them on their return home.

The country's health administrative secretary told parliament's health committee that the evacuations will be done once China lifts the lockdown in the city.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in constant communication with the 85 Kenyan students," Dr Mercy Mwangangi told the MPs.

"We have identified two holding rooms at JKIA [Kenya's main international airport] and set up isolation facility at the Kenyatta Hospital. Additional satellite isolation facilities have been earmarked for Nairobi county," she added.

It is not clear how long the Wuhan lockdown will last, but several countries have been evacuating their citizens from the city. Egypt was the first African country to do so.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is concerned about Africa's preparedness to handle a confirmed case.

On Tuesday, Dr Michel Yao - WHO's emergency response manager in the region - said many African countries have weak health systems.

Dr Yao noted that there are only six laboratories in the continent with the capacity to test for the virus - they are in Nigeria, Ghana, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Senegal and South Africa.

"The South African lab has tested 71 samples from different countries that had suspected cases. The results came back negative," Dr Yao said.

The global health agency said it will send additional support to 24 countries to enable them to test for the virus that has so far killed 426 people, one outside China.

Africa has not reported any confirmed case.

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