Kenyan students in Wuhan, China, to get Sh1.3m upkeep

Wednesday March 18 2020
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Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna holds a press briefing. He has announced that students in Wuhan will receive funding for upkeep. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ELIZABETH MERAB

The government will disburse Sh1.3 million that will go towards upkeep of Kenyan students in Wuhan, the Chinese city that is the epicentre of the COVID-19 virus epidemic.

In addition, Sh500,000 worth of provisions from the Chinese government is also being processed.

The move follows anxious appeals from Kenyans living in the country after a coronavirus lockdown left students confined to their residences and unable to procure groceries.

Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna says 100 Kenyans are currently living in the Chinese city, with 91 of these being students while 9 are artistes.

"We are aware there are two expectant Kenyans ... they've been receiving medical services. They have the necessary support and are in good health," Col (rtd) Oguna said in a briefing on Thursday.

The nine other Kenyans are said to be acrobats.

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All transport, including trains, flights and public means have been cancelled by Chinese authorities to prevent spread of the viral disease.

As at Thursday, China's National Health Commission reported the death toll had jumped to 2,118 after 114 new deaths were reported.

More than 74,500 people have now been infected nationwide by the virus, which first emerged in December.

The Kenyan government says parents with students in China are being offered psychosocial support, while students are getting the same support via WeChat.

"We are a responsible government which looks at things from a rational perspective and not emotive. Let's address issues from objective perspective not emotive," Col (rtd) Oguna said.

On whether they could be evacuated, he said the option is not completely off the table, but cited some apprehensions with the move that has been exercised by other countries.

"We want you to consider the potential of them being infected during transportation. If we were to put them together and in the event one is infected then it means all of them will be exposed. In your own mind and thinking, where are they better off? Let's be rational in our thinking and take into consideration all eventualities. We are not doing things based on what others are doing."