City businesses, hotels on high alert after first Covid-19 case is confirmed

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A hawker (in black T-shirt) sells face masks on Moi Avenue in Nairobi on March 13, 2020 after the Ministry of Health announced the first confirmed case of the new coronavirus in the country. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION

Hours after the announcement by the Health ministry of a confirmed Covid-19 case in Kenya, hotels and businesses in Nairobi said they would ensure the safety of their premises, employees and guests.
By afternoon yesterday, several companies had sent circulars to their employees on remaining safe.

Safari Park Hotel management said the main reception area would be cleaned after every check-in, and that employees had been trained on Covid-19 preparedness and response.

The management added that non-contact infrared thermometers are at the main restaurant and reception. A quarantine room has also been prepared.

READ: Coronavirus: Your questions answered

“Due to travel restrictions, guests might be forced to postpone or cancel their stay with us. We have thus made temporary alterations to our change and cancellation policy. The altered rules apply during the travel ban and only to guests travelling to areas affected by the restrictions,” the statement said.

IMPACT OF COVID-19
The statement came barely hours after Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the sector would be hit hard by the impact of Covid-19.

“Tourism, an important source of hard currency and jobs, has started feeling the impact of the turmoil caused by the outbreak,” Mr Balala said, citing restrictions in source markets like Europe and the US.

Meanwhile, devolved governments in the Coast region have established isolation centres as the virus spreads to many countries globally.

The centres are at points of entry, including the Mombasa port, Taveta-Holili border and Moi and Malindi airports.

Health officials directed learning institutions to provide students with clean running water and soap.

Mombasa and Kilifi are among the 14 counties placed on high alert for coronavirus by the Health ministry.

In Taita-Taveta, the county government is to establish isolation centres in the four sub-counties of Voi, Wundanyi, Taveta and Mwatate.
County governments have drafted new health rules to stop the spread of the virus.

A list of travellers arriving in Mombasa from China, the epicentre of the pandemic, is prepared daily.

KISSING
The devolved government warned residents against kissing, hugging and shaking hands. It has also put in place a series of awareness programmes.

“Wash your hands with running water and detergent or use hand sanitisers and self-quarantine in case you have Covid-19 symptoms,” public health chief officer Aisha Abubakar said.
An isolation site has been set up at Coast General Hospital.

“It has adequate equipment and personnel, specially trained to handle these cases. Other hospitals have been encouraged to have isolation rooms,” Health executive Hazel Koitaba said.

She added that her department and port health officials are on the lookout for suspected cases getting into the county.

Kilifi Health executive Anisa Omar said his department has formed rapid response teams at county and sub-county levels to track suspicious cases.

The devolved unit has also dispatched a team of experts to Malindi airport, he added.

“We have trained health workers and we are also on alert,” Dr Omar told the Nation.
He added that locals had also been sensitised on Covid-19 preparedness. He also said schools are following issued regulations.

Taita-Taveta chief health officer Philomena Kirote said the emergency response centres will be ready before the March 15 deadline.
She added that isolation wards will be established at low-volume hospitals. Screening people arriving from Tanzania will begin soon, she said.

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