NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – A search has been mounted for 85 people who came into contact with a coronavirus patient who had escaped from Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi.
Deputy Director of Medical Services at the Ministry of Health Dr Patrick Amoth said the patient escaped from a quarantine facility, but was traced and taken back by security forces.
“There was a patient in Mbagathi apparently who left the facility and through security operators, in the country, we traced and brought her back and she tested positive, We are looking for 85 patients actively and will give updates on the contacts we are following,” he told a news conference in Nairobi Wednesday, when Kenya announced an additional three coronavirus cases, raising the number to 7. The woman who escaped was among the three.
The three new cases include a couple who arrived from Madrid, Spain, through Dubai on March 4.
The third case, he said, is of a Burundian citizen-who arrived from Dubai and was isolated upon arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) due to high body temperatures.
“He was picked up by our surveillance team with high temperature during routine screening at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport,” said Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.
So far, 18 people are admitted to to the Mbagathi isolation centre, 7 others have been screened and are negative while “samples from the 11 remaining suspected cases are being processed in our two designated laboratories.”
Those being discharged, he said, will embark on self-quarantine at home.
He urged Kenyans returning from abroad to exercise caution saying they must self-quarantine.
“It is now clear that the threat that we are facing is from Kenyans or foreigners coming or who have visited overseas countries,” the CS said.
Those arriving in the country will henceforth be required to sign a legal form committing to self-quarantine.
“We will forcefully quarantine you for 14 days and later charge you,” he said.
He said Kenyan doctors on Wednesday had a video-conference with Chinese doctors in Wuhan- where the disease has been put to control.
Across the world, the virus has claimed more than 7,500, people with Europe being the new epicenter. Italy remains the worst hit due to high fatalities and positive cases.