China Southern Airline, the carrier that ferried 239 passengers from China to Kenya on Wednesday, has suspended its flights to Kenya until further notice.
This follows public outcry, with Kenyans seeking to have all flight to and from China suspended to avert the risk of having the dreadful coronavirus in Kenya.
However, according to a statement from the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, the move was not because of the coronavirus but due to “decreasing volume of passenger flow.”
“Due to the decreasing volume of passenger flow, China Southern Airlines has made necessary adjustments by suspending flights connecting Guangzhou, Changsha and Nairobi until further notice,” read a statement posted on the embassy’s Twitter page.
This comes minutes after President Uhuru Kenyatta issued an Executive Order over coronavirus, forming a task force comprising of Health CS and counterparts from Defense, Foreign Affairs, ICT and Transport.
The President said that Kenya is an international transport hub with 70 percent of passengers in transit, posing a great risk to those in the points of entry and exit.
“There is a significant threat arising from the potential spread of the coronavirus to Kenya from countries that have new and ongoing outbreaks of the pneumatic disease,” the President said in a statement.
Also, the High Court ordered that all the 239 passengers who arrived in Kenya aboard a China Southern flight should be quarantined at a Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) facility.
The Court further tasked KDF to trace the passengers, make sure they are re-examined and then quarantine them either at the KDF facility or another specially guarded unit.
Justice James Makau said the order applies to “all the 239 passengers that they let into the country aboard a Chinese flight CZ 6043 which landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on February 26, 2020 at 7:29am”.
The Court also suspended all flights from China.