With London confirming it’s the first case of the coronavirus, is it just a matter of time before it lands in Africa? And more specifically, Kenya? Should be worried?
With the whole world going into panic mode, have we learnt our lessons from the Ebola outbreak across West Africa, that between 2013 and 2014 was so devastating that it took more than 11,000 lives in three countries.
It was hitherto fully de rigueur to smile at the Chinese and Japanese habit of wearing surgical facemasks in public. Yet, since the coronavirus outbreak, you can’t tell if we are smiling anymore, or at least you can’t tell if we are beneath the masks cropping up our faces as masses go to extreme measures to protect themselves.
And now, if you meet someone walking the streets of Moi Avenue in Nairobi or Kisumu, covering their mouths, and avoiding general bodily contact, could you tell if those eyes you see piercing your own are of judgment or guilt?
Hard to tell.
There’s so much misinformation, it’s hard to know whether we are all silent carriers. Either way, if you’re not infected, you’re affected.
Why should we care?
Well, based on the volume of air traffic between the two countries, Kenya has the continents sixth-highest risk of getting a case of imported coronavirus from China.
As African countries appear at risk of another viral outbreak with COVID-19 (as the particular coronavirus strain in China is now known), we will need more than good luck and prayers to combat the world’s silent killer.
The World Health Organization itself is worried that our ‘fragile’ healthcare systems won’t be able to cope with the disease if indeed it broke out in Africa, and many populations may be wiped out, seeing how easily the virus spreads.
There are an estimated 4,600 students from African countries studying in Hubei province where the capital city of Wuhan has become the ground zero for the deadly virus’ spread, according to Development Reimagined, an international development consultancy in Beijing
However, the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng says no cases of coronavirus infections amongst Kenyans living in China have been reported.
The city of Wuhan has been on lockdown since Thursday 3rd January 2020.
So what are the stats:
- Coronavirus Cases: 64,449
- Deaths: 1,383
- Recovered: 7,101
So far 28 countries have been affected all around the world with China leading with around 64,000 cases.
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LIVE UPDATES: (February 14th 2020)
- 1 new case in Japan
- Report from Hubei province for February 13:
- 4,823 new cases (including 3,095 clinically diagnosed)
- 116 new deaths (including 8 clinically diagnosed).
- 51,986 cumulative total cases (including 15,384 clinically diagnosed)
- 36,719 currently hospitalized, of which:
– 27,081 (73.8%) in mild condition
– 7,953 (21.7%) serious
– 1,685 (4.6%) critical
- 690 new hospital discharges (including 214 clinically diagnosed)
- 166,818 close contacts have been tracked
- 77,685 people are undergoing medical observation
More than 14,840 new cases have been added to the tally of the infected in Hubei Province alone, bringing the total number to 48,206, the largest one-day increase so far recorded. The death toll in the province rose to 1,310, including 242 new deaths.
Should we as a country be worried?
I‘m worried that we are not.