NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe Friday announced a ban on all international meetings to curtail the importation of the deadly coronavirus which has so far claimed 3,300 lives in 85 nations into the country.
Speaking during the launch of a 120-bed capacity isolation facility at Nairobi’s Mbagathi Hospital Kagwe said the directive is expected to last for a month.
“The government has with immediate effect banned all meetings and conferences of an international nature in Kenya for a month,” he said.
The ban consequently led to the postponement of the 2020 Magical Kenya Open, with the Chairperson of the Kenya Open Golf Limited, Peter Kanyango, saying they will abide by the government’s directive.
Kagwe urged Kenyans to avoid non-essential travel out of the country.
Government officials have also been banned from visiting affected countries unless it is extremely necessary for them travel but with permission.
He maintained that the government has heightened measures to control the importation of the virus in the country that has since resulted in travel restrictions in several countries as the number of the infected neared 100,000.
Kagwe said the government has partly lifted the ban on Italian flights to Kenya, only allowing flight to evacuate Italian Citizens returning back to their country.
The Italian citizens were in Kenya for holidays and got locked before they could travel back.
“The flight(s) will only contain their cabin crew, who will not disembark while the passengers are being picked,” stated Kagwe.
He said local events involving Kenyans will still go on, including the First Lady’s Beyond Zero Marathon scheduled for this weekend.
Kenyans have been urged to avoid non-essential travel out of the country.
“The Government has issued a travel advisory to all Kenyans to avoid non-essential travel to high risk countries for conferences/meetings or events where more than 15 people would be gathering,” he said.
Kagwe however cautioned the public against issuing false and alarming messages concerning the virus, saying those doing that will be arrested and charged.
The health ministry has also liaised with Safaricom to send free messages to the public informing to educate them on coronavirus.