The government on Tuesday, March 3, suspended flights from Northern Italy to Kenya after confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) emerged in Italian cities.
Flights from Verona and Milan will specifically be affected by the order. A number of direct chartered flights carrying tourists from Italy fly to Mombasa regularly.
The decision was taken by the National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus (NERCC) chaired by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe in consultation with the Italian Embassy in Nairobi.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe takes oath of office at State House on February 20, 2020.
“This part of Italy is currently experiencing coronavirus incidents which could affect safety of Kenyans.
“National Emergency Response Committee on Coronavirus will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves,” the statement read in part.
A shocking 50% increase in confirmed coronavirus cases was reported in Italy on Monday, March 2, sparking fear around the world.
The country’s Civil Protection Authority stated that there were 1,694 confirmed coronavirus cases, up from 1,128 confirmed cases on Saturday, February 7.
Thirty-four people have so far died from the deadly disease in Italy. The global death toll stands at over 3,000 with a majority of cases reported in China.
The United Nations (UN) described the increase in confirmed cases in Italy as ‘deeply concerning’.
SAS, American Airlines and Delta Airlines are among leading global carriers that cancelled all flights to and from Italy as a result of the surge in infections
The decision to suspend flights from North Italy came hours after a court was told that 239 passengers who arrived in Nairobi on a Chinese plane on Wednesday, February 26, had not been tracked down by the government, in contravention of a court order that compelled authorities to track and quarantine the passengers.
High Court Judge Justice James Makau had ordered the government to quarantine 239 passengers who arrived in Kenya aboard a China Southern Airlines flight on Wednesday, February 26, 2020.
“We should get a report as to the position so far. This is a serious matter. It’s an issue of life and death,” Makau asserted on Tuesday, March 3, after two doctors filed a petition at the Milimani Law Courts.
Justice James Makau in court during the ruling on a Judicial Service Commission case on Thursday, February 6, 2020.