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Student with coronavirus-like symptoms admitted to KNH

Kenyatta National Hospital.
Kenyatta National Hospital. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A Kenyan student from China who arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) with coronavirus-like symptom has been admitted at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) isolation ward.

The Ministry of Health says it is currently investigating the suspected case of the deadly virus.

The unnamed student, in his early 20s, arrived at JKIA aboard a Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ flight with coronavirus-like symptoms. He rushed to the hospital by the Ministry of Health at 9.30am Tuesday morning.

"Kenya Airways confirms that a passenger who travelled on our flight KQ886 from Guangzhou to Nairobi on 28 January 2020 has, as a precautionary measure, been quarantined at the Kenyatta National Hospital," KQ said in a statement.

The student had been in Wuhan, the city that is the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic in China.

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Speaking to the Nation, KNH Communications Manager Hezekiel Gikambi said that when the student was flagged at JKIA by the infectious disease units at the airport.

“He was brought by the airport surveillance ambulance and is currently going through tests to rule out or confirm if he indeed has the disease,” he said.

KQ said that while on board the aircraft, its crew, guided by the ICAO protocols, isolated the passenger and provide him with a face mask for the entire trip.

The virus has so far claimed 106 lives in China and more than 4,000 people have been infected across the country.

The disease has also spread around the world, prompting countries to shore up surveillance and screening at airports, especially for travellers arriving from Wuhan in China where the outbreak began in December 2019.

Symptoms include a running nose, coughing and a sore throat. Infected persons may have headaches and a fever, which can last for a couple of days.

While more cases have been emerging outside China in people who have travelled from there recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said only one of the overseas cases involved human-to-human transmission.

Officially known as “2019-nCoV”, the coronavirus can cause deadly pneumonia, but it is too early to know just how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads.

Chinese health officials say the incubation period could range from one to 14 days, and the virus is infectious during that time. The WHO estimated an incubation period of two to 10 days.

The global spread of the coronavirus: Where is it?

  • Macau, a gambling hub hugely popular with mainland tourists, has confirmed seven cases as of Tuesday.
  • In Hong Kong, eight people are known to have the disease. Of those, six arrived via a newly built high-speed train terminal that connects the city to the mainland.
  • Five cases have been confirmed in Australia -- all of whom arrived in the country from Wuhan. The patients are being treated in hospitals in Sydney and Melbourne.
  • Cambodia's health ministry reported the country's first case of the virus on Monday: a 60-year-old man who arrived from Wuhan and is now stable in an isolation room.
  • Japan's health authorities confirmed the country's fourth case on Saturday: a man in his 40s, visiting Japan from Wuhan, who is in hospital in a stable condition.
    Two other men and a woman have been treated after returning to Japan from the Chinese city.
  • Malaysia confirmed its fourth case on Sunday. All are Chinese nationals on holiday from Wuhan who arrived in the country from Singapore.
  • Nepal said a 32-year-old man arriving from Wuhan had the disease. The patient, who was initially quarantined, recovered and was discharged.
  • Singapore has so far confirmed five cases of the coronavirus -- all of them arrived in the city-state from Wuhan.
  • South Korean media reported the country's fourth case on Monday, citing the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The three men and a woman all travelled from Wuhan.
  • Sri Lanka confirmed its first case of the virus on Monday -- a 43-year-old Chinese woman who entered the country as a tourist last week from Hubei province.
    She is being treated in hospital, a spokesman at the Infectious Diseases Hospital near Colombo told AFP.
  • Taiwan has uncovered seven cases so far, the latest two female Chinese nationals in their seventies, who arrived in the country as part of a tour group on January 22.
  • Thailand announced 14 confirmed infections Tuesday -- the highest outside of China.
    Health officials said that of the six new cases -- all Chinese passengers from Wuhan -- five of them were in the same family, ranging in ages six to 70.
  • Vietnam has so far confirmed two cases of the virus. An infected man from Wuhan travelled to Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month and passed the virus on to his son.
  • Canada confirmed its first case of the virus on Monday, a man who travelled to Wuhan, and has reported a second suspected case -- his wife, who made the trip with him.
  • The US has confirmed five cases of the virus in patients who had recently entered the country from Wuhan -- two in California and one each in Arizona, Chicago and Washington state.

Analysts said China’s travel and tourism would be the hardest-hit sectors, together with retail and liquor sales, though healthcare and online shopping were seen as likely outperformers.

A growing number of countries have said they will evacuate their citizens from Wuhan.

- Additional reporting by AFP and Reuters.

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