On Tuesday, February 11, K24 TV, was first to report that the diners at the Kamere Estate-based restaurant, popular with foreigners, were scared after the ‘Chinese’ man who ‘looked sickly’ walked into the restaurant, igniting fears of the coronavirus outbreak originating from the Asian country.
“The foreigner was definitely sick and due to fear of the coronavirus, people fled from the hotel before he also left,” an eyewitness stated as quoted by the publication.
According to the witness, residents in the area have been living in fear since the virus outbreak was announced, citing the fact that the area was frequented by Chinese nationals.
Health officers arrived at the hotel only to find out that the Asian man had also walked away, and the management had not acquired his details.
“Our officers had been informed of an ailing foreigner but on arriving in the hotel he had already left and no one had is personal details.
“We shall conduct a three-day training workshop for select health workers in the country in the wake of the outbreak in China,” Nakuru Health Chief Officer Samuel King’ori stated, adding that they would be the first county to train their health workers on surveilling the disease.
In Suswa, Narok County, the are residents urged the Ministry of Health officials to investigate Chinese nationals they alleged appeared sickly.
A resident in the claimed that the Chinese had secluded them for weeks and no one had details of their whereabouts.
“We have spotted around three sick Chinese nationals locked in one of the rooms in section six and we are asking the necessary government to investigate this incident,” the resident alleged.
The latest incident raises questions on the stigmatisation and stereotypes Kenyans have towards the Chinese. Cases of Chinese nationals being on the wrong have been on the spotlight ever since Kenya’s dalliance with Chinese loans, with the latest case being that of a Chinese national facing assault charges after he was caught on tape whipping a Kenyan.
It also raises concern on whether the Ministry of Health has create enough awareness on the deadly coronavirus that many Kenyans seem ill-informe about.
On February 5, the government, through the Ministry of Health, released a conclusive report over fears that a case of the deadly coronavirus had been diagnosed in Kenya, stating that all reported cases of the disease in the country were found to be negative.
After the outbreak, Kenya Airways announced the suspension of its flights to Guangzhou, China. The airline operates two non-stop flights on the Nairobi-Guangzhou route three times weekly.
China Southern Airlines later pulled the plug on all four of its weekly direct flights from Nairobi to two cities in China four days after one of its planes was held at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for about 9 hours.
So far there have been 40,649 cases of the virus, with 40,197 people infected in China alone. About 910 deaths have also been confirmed so far, according to live update.