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Unlike Kenya, countries are going ham on deadly coronavirus

By Mercy Asamba | February 27th 2020 at 01:10:00 GMT +0300

Employees from a disinfection service company sanitize a shopping district in Seoul, South Korea, February 27, 2020. (Reuters)

As Kenya urges people flying in from mainland China to self-quarantine, other governments are taking caution against the deadly flu-like virus that has the world on edge.

239 passengers yesterday flew from China and were cleared to enter the country. They were asked to self-quarantine for 14 days as a precaution against coronavirus.

Kenya now joins Iran in the decimal list of countries that do not quarantine people arriving from China. Iran, an Asian country to the West of virus-hit China is already paying the price – it has recorded 19 deaths and 139 positive cases in the past week.

Many are now arguing Kenya is walking Iran’s path as it seems to go slow on the precautionary measures against the virus spread if yesterday’s occurrence is anything to go by.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Africa is at high risk from the spread of the Covid-19 because of the fragile healthcare systems and the absence of vital equipment such as the respiratory support system.

Covid 19 Time Series

 

The region reported two cases of coronavirus since its outbreak. The first case was reported in Egypt and the most recent case in Algeria.

More than 80,000 people in about 40 countries have been infected with the coronavirus, the vast majority in China.

WHO recently said that for the first time the virus was spreading faster outside China from where it emerged late last year in a market selling wildlife in the city of Wuhan.

Italy is Europe’s worst-hit country where infection cases have jumped to 400 in a week.

Schools, universities and cinemas in the country have been closed. The Italian government also cancelled several public events as the virus continued to spread.

WHO, however, said the deadly virus has not yet developed into a pandemic. Coronavirus is still an epidemic.

An epidemic is when more than a normal number of cases of an illness, specific health-related behaviour or other related events in a community or a region. Yet a pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new infection.

Reuters reported Thursday that the United States and South Korea had postponed joint military drills in a bid to limit the spread of the virus.

A helicopter prepares to take off at a U.S. army base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, February 27, 2020. [REUTERS]

South Korea reported 334 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, pushing its total to 1,595.

The country has the most number of cases after mainland China.

The US State Department yesterday issued a travel warning to South Korea after its military officer tested positive for coronavirus.

The US also cautioned its citizens against cruise ship travel in the Asian waters.

"This is a dynamic situation and US citizens travelling by ship may be impacted by travel restrictions affecting their itineraries or ability to disembark or may be subject to quarantine procedures implemented by the local authorities," the US State Department stated on its website.

Saudi Arabia on Thursday suspended visas for pilgrims wishing to visit Mecca as a precautionary measure against the outbreak.

“The government is suspending entry to the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet's Mosque temporarily," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Staff in most London offices have been told to work from home as a precaution.

Media company, OMD, based in central London, asked its over 1,000 staff to stay away. This is after an employee returned from a trip to Australia and Singapore with flu-like symptoms.

BBC reported that Oil giant Chevron had asked 300 staff not to come into its office in Canary Wharf "for the time being".

Airlines around the world have responded to the coronavirus outbreak by suspending flights to and from China.

The suspension in most countries across North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East is through to the month of April.

The Guardian reported the Olympics, the Six Nations and British rapper Stormzy’s world tour are among events under threat amid health and travel concerns as the authorities attempt to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Africa reported two cases of coronavirus since its outbreak. The first case was reported in Egypt and the most recent case in Algeria.


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