New coronavirus testing facilities in Kenya

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Laboratories under the National Influenza Centre, situated at the National Public Health Laboratories and Kenya Medical Research Institute will begin testing samples immediately.

The labs

Dr Amoth, the director-general of health, said that they received the kits enabling them to test for coronavirus. Equipping the laboratories means that the country will not ship out samples for confirmation as the two labs can compare the results.

The country was previously unable to confirm whether the seven people suspected to have the virus tested positive as they lacked the reagent kits. Ms Kariuki said that the government set aside 120-bed isolation at the new wing of Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi. Also, sixty more bed-isolation ward set aside at the Kenyatta Nation Hospital.

As a result of the WHOs declaration of the virus as a global epidemic; different countries, especially the developing ones, started establishing diagnostics capabilities. A week ago, only two labs in Africa; South Africa and Senegal, could diagnose the virus. As of Sunday, WHO expected every country to have necessities required for testing.

Head of the WHO emergency programme, Dr Mike Ryan said that researchers are working to develop an antibody test. This test can help tell whether the person has the virus. The test would shed light on; how broad the virus has spread and also identify milder cases not being detected.

Evacuation

Foreign affairs principal secretary restated the government’s position that it would not evacuate the 75 students in Wuhan, China. He said that the students were safe over there. Kenyan students in Wuhan, in a letter to the foreign affairs, asked for urgent intervention stating that; they were running out of food and facing psychological torture.

The cases

Hong Kong has confirmed one more case bringing the city’s total to 50. The virus has killed more than 1,100 people and infected 45,000 people worldwide. Staff at the Singapore bank evacuated today as one employee tested positive for the virus. The bank said that; they would ensure office spaces and common areas like the elevators get disinfected.

Singapore has 47 confirmed cases.

Scientists believe that the virus spread by direct contact and droplets, like when someone coughs on someone else. However, because of two patients who lived directly above one another, authorities decided to investigate whether the virus can spread through piping systems.

Microbiologist Kwok-Yung said that an improperly sealed pipe could transmit the virus by carrying infected faeces into the building’s ventilation and blowing the virus into people’s bathrooms.

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