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Coronavirus update: Government sealing borders

Health & Science
 From left, Transport CS James Macharia, Interior PS Karanja Kibicho and Immigration Director-General Alexander Muteshi when they appeared before the Joint Parliamentary Health Committee at County Hall, Nairobi. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The government is sealing its borders to prevent the spread of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) into the country.

This is according to Transport CS James Macharia who appeared before a National Assembly and Senate joint Health Committee today.

Macharia said that the government is monitoring all major land, air and sea border points in a bid to avert the spread of the virus.

He said that anyone travelling into the country will be required to provide their travel history.

In the government's master-plan, pilots will be compelled to provide a travel manifest of all passengers on board for direct and connecting planes, with passengers on transit also expected to be monitored.

The CS further added that the government is closely monitoring flights that have connections into the country. “Kenya Civil Authority issued a notice to airlines that if an airline is carrying passengers into this country, then they need to know where that passenger is coming from and that responsibility lies with the captain of the flight,” he said.

Travellers will also be required to register at entry points for easy tracking.

Principal Secretary in the Interior Ministry, Karanja Kibicho who also appeared before the committee, said that the recently formed task-force on coronavirus had embarked on delivering on the isolation facilities required to contain an outbreak.

The government cannot account for all passengers aboard the China Southern Airline that landed into the country last week but says it is monitoring their situation.

He also urged members of the public to desist from making remarks that could amount to stigma, saying they were making all interventions necessary to ensure the safety of Kenyans.

The government has currently suspended flights from China and Nothern Italy which have recorded cases of the coronavirus.

Parents of the 90 students living in Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus in China, had petitioned Parliament to evacuate their children, a matter the transport CS said the government was still reviewing.

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