Kenyan students stuck in Wuhan, China -the centre of the coronavirus outbreak- are seeking the government’s intervention in getting them home as the “situation worsens”.
In a letter addressed to Health CS Sicily Kariuki by Kenyan Students in Wuhan Association (KENSWA), the representatives note that the death toll has risen to 427 as the number of confirmed cases hit 20, 471.
The students want the state to get them home because the members can no longer “keep calm”, leading to psychological distress.
They further mention that their parents too are in a state of confusion. In the letter dated February 5, the students also state that they are slowly running out of basic supplies.
The KENSWA members also say that they are ready to undergo the stipulated health checks as well as the strict 14-day quarantine back home.
@MOH_Kenya Please find attached a Letter from Kenyan students stuck in Wuhan-China. The same has been sent to your email and copied to MFA
— Evans Atoni (@Atoneet) February 5, 2020
There are approximately 88 students stuck in the which is currently under lockdown to mitigate the virus that is fast spreading.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health insisted that none of Kenyans in Wuhan was infected with the deadly virus which according to New York Times has killed 490 people, and infected 24,324 people.
“Our embassy in Beijing shall continue to offer material and moral support to our students in Wuhan City,” said the ministry.
The disease has spread to at least 17 countries but none reported in Africa.
Al Jazeera reports that Morocco and Egypt have moved to evacuate their citizens, while Algeria also chartered a plane to bring home its own people alongside nationals from Libya, Mauritania and Tunisia.
A student who landed in Kenya from China last week was quarantined at Kenyatta National Hospital for three days. He was declared free of the virus.
On Thursday World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the coronavirus a global emergency.
WHO also warned that an outbreak in Africa would be detrimental.
“You can easily have a huge number of cases and the system can easily be overwhelmed. This is why early detection is critical,” said Dr Michael Yao, WHO’s emergency operations programme manager for Africa.
On Friday, Kenya Airways temporarily cancelled flights to China following the outbreak.
“We have temporarily suspended all flights to and from Guangzhou starting Friday 31 January 2020, until further notice,” said Kenya Airways.