The government on Friday ruled out the option of evacuating Kenyan students stuck in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, Foreign affairs PS Macharia Kamau alluded that the students are safe in China.
While addressing the press alongside outgoing Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, Kamau said the decision not to fly home the over 90 students is in their best interest.
“Let’s not create an impression that most of the countries have evacuated their people,” the PS said.
He added, “I understand there are young people who are in China and they are apprehensive of the situation but it is normal in a situation like this.”
He, however, noted that the government is weighing on all options on the matter adding the government is on a high alert to ensure the virus does not enter Kenya.
Kamau’s statement contradicts a recent remark by President Uhuru Kenyatta that the government would evacuate all the students from China if they insisted on returning home.
“We are also working; because we have got a good number of our students there, to see how we can support them and find out how we can also, when they do come and insist they are coming, ensure that they are put in quarantine for the required 14 days and ensure that they are not going to spread that virus around,” the President said while addressing a forum in Washington.
The students had accused the Kenyan embassy in China of neglecting them.
In a letter to the Health CS this week, the students’ representatives appealed to the government to get them home because their members can no longer “keep calm”, leading to psychological distress.
Speaking on Friday, Ms Kariuki stated that as part of the government’s effort to prevent the virus from entering Kenya the ministry has deployed health workers to all entry points to assist with the screening processes.
“Additional health workers have been deployed at JKIA. We are advising Kenyans against non-essential travel to affected countries,” she said.
All the seven individuals that were recently quarantined in Nairobi and Mombasa over coronavirus fears tested negative for the virus.
The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China has risen to 636 with at least 30,000 people infected.