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Uproar as Chinese plane lands in Nairobi

Wednesday February 26 2020

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport's Terminal 1-A.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport's Terminal 1-A. A direct flight from China landed at the airport on February 26, 2020 amid coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MARY WANGARI
By MARY WANGARI
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Twitter was ablaze Wednesday evening after the government announced that 239 passengers, who arrived in Nairobi aboard a China Southern flight, were cleared of coronavirus and advised to self-quarantine.

Some airlines originating from China are still being allowed to land in Nairobi weeks after Kenya Airways suspended its flights to and from China amid coronavirus outbreak. 

A video of a China Southern Airlines airplane landing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) was Wednesday shared on social media sparking outrage among some Kenyans, who questioned the government’s efforts in protecting its citizen from the deadly virus.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health confirmed the resumption of China Southern flights to Kenya.

The department further stated that all the passengers, who were on the Chinese plane, had been given a greenlight to enter Kenya and were advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“All 239 passengers were screened onboard, cleared and advised to self-quarantine for the next 14 days," the department said.

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The statement elicited reactions from Kenyans, who took to social media to express their disappointment with the Kenyan government for allowing planes from China to enter the country amid coronavirus outbreak.

Kipsfai said on Twitter, "Who will monitor each of them incase they turn positive? Does GOK/MOH know anything about incubation period?"

Nathan Douglas Ngumi said, "Cleared so fast? If some of them are infected but the disease is still in its incubation phase and does not show visible symptoms how sure are Kenyan authorities that none of them have it?

"Also, how do you advise visitors to self-quarantine? In other countries it is not a choice!"

“Why can other people from China come to Kenya YET healthy desperate Kenyans in Wuhan are barred from returning? All the passengers have to do is board a plane and "self-quarantine"... rubbish,” remarked one Tim on Twitter.

John Dewis , another Twitter user said: “Tutapata hii and all countries will ban flights to Kenya. Sometimes I wonder. Passengers from are free to come to Kenya but our own students can't.”

“How do you monitor such conditions like "self-quarantine" is adhered to. How would you know that actually happened? You are risking the lives of millions of Kenyans,” wrote another.

Some argued that the Kenyan government does not have the capacity to handle coronavirus outbreak.

“Hospitals do not have basic things, there is a blood shortage, medics shortage etc. And yet you allow a plane from China to land here. Russia and some other countries can’t take the risk. Are you saying you are more capable than these countries?” posted Mwangi.

The World Health Organization confirmed the new coronavirus (Covid-19) has so far claimed 2,700 lives and 80,000 people are affected globally.