Covid-19 scare: four isolated at Kakuma camp

Friday March 20 2020

An aerial view of Kakuma Town. Four people have been isolated at Kakuma camp over suspected Covid-19. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


A 72-year-old Somali-American was on Thursday isolated together with his son, grandson and a driver after registering high body temperature.

Turkana West Sub-County Medical Health Officer Dr Dominic Ongaki confirmed the incident.

The four were in a Probox vehicle that was stopped at a Kakuma-Lodwar road block by officers.

Upon screening, the health officers said they could not ignore the man's high body temperature given his travel history.

"The three, who are refugees at Kakuma Refugee Camp, and their driver were stopped at Lokore road block where they were screened. They were all taken to hospital where they will continue being in isolation awaiting further results on Covid-19 tests," Dr Ongaki said.

The man had travelled from the US on March 16. He arrived in Lodwar on Thursday from Nairobi via a Skyward Express flight.


The vehicle he was using to travel to Kakuma from Lodwar is also at the hospital for sterilisation.

Dr Ongaki reported the incident at Kakuma Police Station.

Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok has said the county has set aside 57 isolation beds at 12 hospitals in preparation for the coronavirus.

Mr Nanok said that any person with suspected symptoms of Covid-19 will be isolated and monitored to contain any possible spread of the disease.

READ: Tracking the spread of coronavirus


Meanwhile, there was panic in Lodwar town last evening after a Chinese national working for a construction company was admitted with a respiratory tract infection.

Residents who were at Lodwar County Referral Hospital on Thursday claimed that the patient ''showed'' symptoms of Covid-19 and that they had to run away.

"This is a dangerous disease that spreads very quickly. It's better to run away from anyone especially a foreigner showing symptoms such as coughing and difficulties in breathing,'' a local who didn't want his name revealed said.

However, panic extended to the entire town and county after some residents shared these unconfirmed reports on social media.

County Health Chief Officer Eloto Abok later clarified to journalists that the rumours were unfounded and that there was no cause for alarm.

Dr Abok said the Chinese national was among seven foreigners who had been under self- quarantine for the past 14 days and was simply seeking medical services for a respiratory tract infection.

"During the period of monitoring the patients, we even linked up with Disease Surveillance Unit in Nairobi and none of the patients we have been monitoring meets the standard case definition for Covid-19," the county health official said.

He said that a Chinese national admitted to Lodwar County and Referral Hospital was confirmed not to have any fever or difficult in breathing.