NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 17 – The Ministry of Health Tuesday confirmed the fourth coronavirus case in the country after a patient with a travel history to London tested positive.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe told reporters the said patient had been isolated at a private hospital facility.
In total, he said, over twenty suspected cases were still quarantined awaiting test results from the National Influenza Centre.
“Today we have received confirmation of another case of the Coronavirus following tests carried out on a patient in one of our private facilities. This now brings the number of confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in the country to four,” the CS said at his Afya House office.
Twenty-three people who had been placed under quarantine were released after testing negative for the virus.
Kagwe said the patient had travelled from London, United Kingdom on 8 March 2020 and arrived in the country the following day.
He said the government had since launched an operation to trace all the people who might have interacted with the patient as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus.
“Tracing of persons who may have come into contact with the patient is ongoing,” he said and noted that once they are found, the individuals will be placed under quarantine at the Mbagathi hospital.
Already, he said, some 23 people who came into contact with a Kenyan student who was the first to be confirmed with coronavirus in Kenya have been discharged from Mbagathi hospital, after they turned negative.
He stressed that despite the results being negative they were advised to self-quarantine themselves at home.
“Results of the 25 plus and additional 23 other persons who have been tested have all turned negative. All the 23 are from Mbagathi hospital. We have cleared them to self-quarantine at home,” he said.
He said the government has so far tested 111 cases since the pandemic was first confirmed.
Kagwe has warned of a probability of a total lockdown in the country should the number of those infected with the virus rise at an alarming rate.
“A total shutdown is always on the table because depending on how we see the progress then the option should not be ruled out,” he said.
While COVID-19 has largely come under control in China where the first case was reported, it has killed more than 7,000 people around the world.
Italy has the highest number of deaths outside China, with Europe now declared the new epicentre based on the high number of cases reported there.