As reported by international news outlets, a student travelling from China was refused entry into Kenya after she displayed coronavirus-like symptoms.
According to the Kenyatta National Hospital, where she was admitted, the student, a female in her 20s, was admitted at 08:30 (09:30 in Kenya), on Tuesday, after she was observed sneezing and coughing, with difficulty in breathing, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
The hospital’s Communications Manager, Hezekiel Gikambi, confirmed the news, stating that the student has undergone a number of tests and it is yet to be determined if she indeed has coronavirus.
“She was brought by the airport surveillance ambulance and is currently going through tests to rule out or confirm if she indeed has the disease,” Gikambi said.
African Union not ruling out the possibility of undetected infections
For now, the student has become the second person tested for the virus in Africa. The continent has not been included in the list of places that have reported cases of coronavirus infections.
This is simply due to the fact that the tests have not yet been concluded. The other difficult aspect of determining if a patient has the virus is that it masks itself in many ways.
The African Union (AU) has concurred with the latter. Speaking to reporters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, on Tuesday, Diseases Control and Prevention director John Nkengasong stated that the continent’s strong links to China opened up the possibility that there may be people walking amongst us who already have the virus.
“It is very possible that we have cases [of coronavirus], but not recognized. We have to admit there [may be] certain cases we don’t know [of],” he said.
Scientists nowhere close to finding source of the coronavirus
The World Health Organisation described the coronavirus as a family of viruses with symptoms varying between the common cold, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The source of the virus has yet to be isolated. The world’s leading scientists have speculated that the coronavirus may have come from an animal but nobody can be sure.
According to BBC News, scientists have linked most reported cases of the virus to a food market in Wuhan, the city in mainland China that was impacted by the outbreak first.
No evidence has yet been collected to confirm this but scientists are working around the clock to find the virus’ source.
Millions of travellers left Wuhan days before city lockdown
Latest updates from CNN report that Facebook has restricted non-essential employee travel to China until further notice. The social media network indicated that this was an effort to prevent further infections after the United States confirmed that five patients were being treated with the virus.
Currently, the death toll has not risen past 106 yet. However, fears of escalating infections — which currently sit above 4 500 — have been heightened by a report that around 5-million travellers left Wuhan days before Wuhan was locked down due to the virus outbreak.