When Lillian Morara’s daughter asked if her father would come back from Wuhan alive, she was caught off guard and could not answer the question.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Ms Morara sought an answer by posing the same question to the President.
“How can I reassure her that he will be all right and that he will come back alive? Do I have to wait for the day he is dead to pick her from school and tell her that her father is finally home,” she asked.
Her husband, Yuvenalis Morara, is a PhD student in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the coronavirus (Covid-19) and the family’s breadwinner. Since the outbreak, she said, he has not been able to provide.
“He is a captive in a foreign land, stuck in a room for hours on end,” she said.
Mr Patrick Wasikhyu said his daughter Hannah Wasikhyu has lost weight and is getting weaker by the day.
“My child is suffering and, as a parent, when you cannot offer help to your children, then you feel like you have failed [them].
“If the government asks us to contribute whatever we have to bring them back, we are more than willing,” he said. He added that if she comes back, he will not consider letting her go back.
Other relatives of students in Wuhan said their kin are willing to undergo all stipulated tests (both in China and on arrival in Kenya) and quarantine if they are helped to come back home.
On Tuesday, the government said it is yet to allocate funds for emergency evacuation of the students, but National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said money would be provided should the need arise. He said the decision to evacuate them rests with the Foreign Affairs ministry.
“If the situation becomes compelling, money will be provided. And we are set,” Mr Yatani said.
Foreign Affairs ministry officials told the Nation that each of the students will receive a regular Sh15,000 in local Chinese currency (Yuan) to help them get by, but expects them to stay in the city until the epidemic is brought under control.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has so far investigated 13 suspected Covid-19 cases, which have all tested negative.
“Two of the cases investigated on Tuesday in Mutomo, Kitui and Kilimani, Nairobi, did not meet the WHO (World Health Organisation) case definition criteria,” the Health ministry said in a statement.
There are currently two isolation facilities in the country, one at Kenyatta National Hospital and another at Mbagathi District Hospital. Consultations are ongoing with private health facilities in Nairobi to provide additional facilities when needed.