NAIROBI - Kenya has set up more than 100 hospital beds in preparation for possible coronavirus cases. The east African nation has assured its citizens health workers are well prepared to stop the spread of the virus, athough Kenya has not reported any confirmed cases.
Speaking to reporters after visiting the Mbagathi Hospital in central Nairobi, Kenya’s health minister, Mutahi Kagwe, said his country is prepared to combat coronavirus.
“We have trained over 1,100 health workers, we have deployed them in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and other areas. We are also sensitizing and cascading this training all the way to the community levels. We have procured sufficient personal protective equipment,” Kagwe said.
Mbagathi Hospital has set up 120 beds for potential cases in the country.
Evans Kamuri, the head of the biggest hospital in the country, Kenyatta National Hospital, assured Kenyans the facility is well-equipped to treat patients who test positive for the coronavirus.
“The facility has all the equipment you need, from a sick patient up to ICU. We also have ventilators, monitors, refrigerators. We have infusion pumps. Even we can actually run the patient in a remote. We also have diagnostic facilities. We have X-rays, We have a mobile ultrasound. We also have a lab…so basically, we have put all the structures in place,” Kamuri said.
Kenya has not reported any coronavirus cases as yet. South Africa is the latest country on the continent to detect the virus. Six other African countries have reported confirmed cases.
The virus' slow arrival to Africa has given governments more time to set up testing and treatment centers, with the help of the World Health Organization and other groups.
According to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, the number of coronavirus cases has reached 100,000 worldwide. With 80 percent reported in China, the death toll has surpassed 3,200.
The virus is believed to have emanated from an outdoor food market in the city of Wuhan, China, and spread person to person.
Some Kenyans who are ill from other diseases are worried about visiting a hospital set up to treat possible coronavirus patients, but Acting Director General of Health Patrick Amoth assured the public the coronavirus facility would operate independently.
“We have ensured that this place is totally isolated from the rest of our facility and when we were taking you around it was only the windows were like that because there was no patient in the facility. Once we have an individual case, the necessary measures we are going to put in place is totally different,” Amoth said.
Kenyan officials said they have been preventing the virus' arrival by screening those entering the country.
The World Health Organization has called on countries around the world to start testing its citizens for the coronavirus and report the number of people infected.