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Nairobi, Mombasa among 14 counties on high alert for virus

Thursday March 5 2020

National Emergency Response Committee

The National Emergency Response Committee, led by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, during a media briefing on coronavirus preparedness outside the Office of the President in Nairobi on March 1, 2020. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ELIZABETH MERAB
By ELIZABETH MERAB
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The Health ministry has placed 14 counties on high alert for coronavirus, given their status as points of entry or their proximity to those that are points of entry.

They are Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Kiambu, Uasin Gishu, Kajiado, Busia, Migori, Kilifi, Kakamega, Kajiado, Nakuru, Wajir and Garissa.

Dr Daniel Lang'at, the ministry's head of disease surveillance, made the announcement on Thursday while giving an update on the country's preparedness for an outbreak.

SCREENING

Dr Lang'at said the country's surveillance system is robust and that they are confident of no case of the Covid-19 at the moment.

He added that Kenya can test the first 100 samples of any suspected cases at the National Influenza Centre or the Kenya Medical Research Institute.

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He also annouced that as of Wednesday, 342,510 travellers had been screened using thermal scanners and guns.

All passengers coming into the country are being screened for the virus, unlike the previous case where only those from China were being examined.

Wuhan, China, is the epicentre of the virus first reported on December 31, 2019.

GLOBAL TOLL

So far, the virus has killed at least 3,300 people across the world and infected more than 96,414 in 84 countries and territories.

This is according to AFP's latest toll at 1100 GMT on Thursday, based on official sources.

South Africa on Thursday confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus, a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy, the health ministry announced.

It is the first case in southern Africa, and the latest confirmed case in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria and Senegal.

Additional reporting by AFP