Yes, suspected case of coronavirus reported in Kenya, patient in hospital after showing symptoms

Coronavirus in Kenya? Student admitted at KNH after exhibiting coronavirus-like symptoms.”

That’s the headline of a news report by Kenya’s NTV television channel, captured in a screenshot and posted on Facebook.

The post, from 29 January 2020, has been flagged as possibly false by Facebook’s fact-checking system. Has coronavirus been reported in Kenya?

NTV reported that a Kenyan student, a passenger on a plane from Guangzhou city in China to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, had shown symptoms of the virus.

The student was admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital, the country’s biggest referral hospital, on the morning of 28 January, NTV said.

What is the coronavirus?

Coronaviruses, according to the World Health Organization, are “a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)”.

The WHO says an outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus, technically known as 2019-nCoV, was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan on 31 December 2019.

A WHO bulletin dated 29 January 2020 says 6,065 cases of this strain have been confirmed around the world so far, with 132 deaths. Most of the cases – 5,997 – were reported inside China. Only 68 cases, in 15 countries, were reported outside China.

Case admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital

On 28 January Kenya’s ministry of health issued a statement on its Facebook and Twitter pages confirming that a patient showing coronavirus symptoms had been admitted to hospital.

“On the morning of 28 January 2020, the Ministry of Health was notified of a passenger aboard flight KQ 887 from Guangzhou China who upon screening on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) was found to have fever,” the statement reads.

“He was immediately isolated in a temporary holding room at JKIA and later transferred to the Infectious Disease Unit, Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) for investigation and admission.”

A day later the ministry issued an update, saying the patient would remain in isolation until tests were completed. – Dancan Bwire


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