New directive for Chinese travellers entering Kenya

Thursday February 13 2020

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng during a luncheon with the Kenya Editors Guild on February 13, 2020. Chinese nationals travelling into the country are required to self-isolate themselves for a minimum of 15 days. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By Nasibo Kabale

Chinese nationals travelling into the country are required to self-isolate themselves for a minimum of 15 days.

The Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng said the embassy will call them every morning confirming that they are indeed at home.

He added that the embassy’s visa section is still open but he did not give a figure of Kenyans who have travelled to China since the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) broke out late last year.

Mr Peng, who was speaking on Thursday at a forum with Kenyan editors, said Kenyan students are safe in China. He added that his government has the capacity and resources to manage the public health emergency effectively. 

“I fully understand the concerns and fears of families of Kenyans living or studying in China, especially in Wuhan city. I wish to stress that, foreign nationals including Kenyans are safe in China,” he said.

Last week, the association of Kenyan students studying in Wuhan asked the government to evacuate them, stating that they were quickly running out of supplies and facing psychological torture.


“...There is no end in sight. The mental anguish that comes with staying in a place ravished by a deadly virus is hard to explain. I just want to come home,” one of them said.

“My supply of basic needs is running low. Although I can buy them, the prices of most of these items have almost doubled. Recently, I bought two cabbages at 25 RMB (approx. Ksh400, $4).

“Ordinarily, both would not have cost me more than 8 RMB! Now imagine the cost accrued due to buying them in bulk, including other more expensive food items such as rice, potatoes and tomatoes whose prices have also hit the roof. In one shopping recently, I spent 245 RMB (about Ksh3,500, $35) for food items that would barely last four days,” one of the students told the Saturday Nation.

On Thursday Mr Peng said that his government would provide good medical care, daily supplies and logistical support for the foreigners in China.

“All universities in China have taken strict measures to keep campuses far away from the epidemic. No cases of infection among Kenyans in China has been reported so far,” he said.

Mr Peng said that it is wise, safe, and right for the students to stay in Wuhan and China for a while.

“The safest way for foreign nationals in Wuhan is to stay put and ensure effective self-protection. The hasty movement will only add more uncertainties. Some confirmed cases have been detected among some foreign evacuees, which increases the risk of further spread,” he added.

Kenyan students and citizens can contact the local university and community authorities who are on duty 24 hours or contact the Chinese Embassy in Kenya through email or the official social media account.

As of Thursday, Chinese government figures showed that at least 59,885 people are infected by the virus and another 1,369 have died of the disease. The government said 6,000 people have been cured of the disease in China (including in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan).

A total of 395 cases including one death have been reported outside of China in 24 countries around the world.

With infections doubling every four days, China intensified its response in Wuhan, with house-to-house temperature checks and mass confinements at quarantine centres. 

So far, data from the Ministry of Health, Kenya through its surveillance system, has been able to pick seven suspected cases who have all tested negative.

The Health Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki, said the Kenyan government has the capacity for in-country testing, adding that 99,706 travellers have been screened across various points of entry as at Monday this week.

“Ongoing mandatory screening in all points of entry including Mombasa sea port to minimise the risk of importation of the virus from affected countries,” she said

Mr Peng expressed confidence that they will win the virus.

“Good news is that, as of Wednesday this week, the newly reported confirmed cases in China (excluding Hubei) has marked the 9th day of declining,” he said.

On what the country is doing, Mr Peng said that they have been mobilizing a “People’s War” and that all the 31 provinces in China's mainland have activated first-level public health emergency response, taking the most comprehensive and rigorous measures possible.

He said that experts have been deployed to the worst-hit areas. 67 billion yuan has been allocated for fighting the outbreak, and over 20 tons of medical supplies are being handled and delivered every hour. Patient subsidy policies implemented.