Ministry unprepared to test Coronavirus as Chinese embassy issues mandatory orders

Afya House which houses the Ministry of Health offices PHOTO COURTESY

The country is unprepared to test suspected cases of Coronavirus, the ministry of health has said.

Speaking when he appeared before the National Assembly health committee chaired by Muranga women rep Sabina Chege, the head of preventative diseases in the ministry of health, Dr. Daniel Langat said that suspected samples of the disease have to be taken to the to South Africa for testing.

Langat said that the country lacks the testing reagents and has to rely on South Africa, the only African country with a capacity to test the virus.

The samples have to be ruled out for Influenza at the National Influenza Centre before they can be validated in South Africa according to officials from the Ministry of Health.

Langat, however, said that the testing kits were prepared to arrive in the country next week.

His remarks came just hours after the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi issued mandatory orders to Chinese companies in Kenya to quarantine its returning workers for 14 days regardless of whether they show symptoms of the virus or not.

“To date, there is no suspected case of novel coronavirus among Chinese nationals in Kenya,” the embassy said in a statement.

On Monday, the first African case of the Coronavirus was confirmed in a Cameroonian student studying in Wuhan, the city where the outbreak first started.

The Chinese government has put the province on lockdown in a bid to contain the virus that has claimed more than 400 people with another 20,000 remaining infected with the virus.

85 Kenyans are currently trapped in the city that has been on lockdown since 23rd January.

Here in Mombasa, samples taken from a suspected Corona Virus case were earlier in the week taken to South Africa for further testing.

The student, from Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, arrived in the country on the 30th of January and is currently on quarantine at the Coast Provincial General Hospital.