Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced the establishment of a national emergency response committee on coronavirus hours after Nigeria reported its first confirmed case of the deadly virus.
Kenyatta’s announcement also following public outrage after a plane carrying 239 passengers landed in the country on Wednesday from China.
Passengers aboard the Southern China Airlines were allowed to disembark at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Kenyatta said in an executive order that his actions were in public interest noting that there is a significant threat arising from the potential spread of the coronavirus to Kenya from countries that have the disease.
In a video below, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta’s addresses the media.
His order follows public and media outrage over what was seen as negligence on the part of public officials charged with ensuring the disease does not enter the country.
The newly formed committee will among other things formulate, enforce and review processes and requirements that regulate entry into Kenya of persons known or suspected to have travelled from a coronavirus affected area.
With news that the East African nation has an isolation facility with just 11 beds, he ordered that a separate isolation facility is completed within a week. He put the newly sworn-in Cabinet Secretary for health in charge of the committee.
Kenyatta says, “There’s an executive order I have issued today (Friday) which I expect you to begin to implement immediately so that we can ensure our people are safe from this pending problem.”
The Chinese Embassy in Kenya announced that the China Southern Airlines had suspended all its flights to the country linking it to reduced passenger numbers. But in Nairobi, the High Court slapped a ban on the airlines flights to Nairobi and ordered that all 239 passengers who arrived in the country on Wednesday aboard one of its flights be put on compulsory quarantine at a Kenya Defence forces facility.
Kenya is among top 13 priority countries for the spread of the disease, according to the World Health Organisation.