NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 20 – Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has refuted media reports that travellers from West African countries are entering Kenya through the Busia and Malaba border points.
He says the reports are inaccurate adding that all ports of entry have been screening incoming passengers since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
“We said any passenger or traveller coming into the country and that statement was very deliberate because we knew if we said airline the people would come in through the border by trucks or by bus but the ban was for everybody coming into this country either by road, air or sea,” he confirmed.
“Why would somebody travel all the way into Uganda then come through Kenya by road? They could have flown into Nairobi. Those reports are hyped up.”
Macharia is assuring Kenyans that there is no need for alarm, saying extra screening at all border points has been increased as a precautionary measure.
The government on Thursday posted additional 31 health workers at designated border points to monitor travellers.
“We have actually escalated the screening processes across all boarder points whether it’s Busia, Namanga or Taita and at the same time we are putting the screening processes in Mombasa and all the other border points. So your are rest assured that we are not just targeting the airlines we are targeting actually all the passengers coming into this country using whichever mode of transport,” he said.
Macharia at the weekend indicated they would bar travellers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone from Tuesday.
Macharia says the government is liaising with the embassies in the countries to help find measures to assist in the evacuating of those Kenyans who are stranded in the West African countries.
“We had to take action. By announcing this ban it was a difficult decision because we knew there were some Kenyans who had to fly out but you see we could not wait, we had to weigh the risk! Do we delay or defer the ban and at the same time escalate the risk of the 42 million lives,” he said.
Macharia confirmed that the two expert doctors sent to West African countries to assess the situation were expected to return to Kenya on Wednesday.
He says with their findings, the ministry will review the suspension and decide whether to lift the ban.
“We sent the two experts to Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia to give us expert feedback on what’s happening on the ground. We extended their stay by one day to be more accurate and with their feedback. If we feel there are areas we need to reveal we shall, with that we will review the suspension,” he said.