While the Kenyan government led by CS Mutahi Kagwe continue to stress the seriousness with which the Coronavirus cases should be handled saying quarantine is now not optional but compulsory exercise for those coming from outside the country, the joke at the point of entry Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, JKIA, continue to surprise passengers.
One, Caroline Tatua who was traveling from Addis Ababa Ethiopia narrated her story documenting her experience at the JKIA.
Her story is not far from a victim of coronavirus who was quarantined at the Mbagathi hospital, tested negative and was released only for her situation to grow worse hours later. She called the hotlines given by the ministry but not a single one was answered. She opted to take a public transport to the hospital where she was readmitted and isolated again. She is yet to get her test results. Though in her own words, she admitted that she is experiencing the Coronavirus-like symptoms.
Here is the story of Caroline Tatua on her experience at the JKIA:
“Yesterday I returned back home from Addis through JKIA. Having read of the seriousness with which the Kenyan government was treating the Corona Virus presence in the country, I was prepared for at the very least screening, temperature checks and information to passengers on what next.. e.g. the need for self-quarantine with proper contact details documentation.
My first stop was the port health.. where we all rushed to fill in the surveillance forms specifically for COVID 19 and Ebola.. while in the process, one of the port health officers asked us where we were from and we promptly said “Addis”.. (expecting to see a change in urgency to screen us)… But alas and behold.. he told us that there was no need to fill the forms and asked us to pass through the walk-in thermal scanner. I was shocked as this was the first time I had seen Port Health downplay surveillance forms filling and I am not sure our response about coming from Addis meant anything to him or the rest who asked… We passed through the scanner (which by the way more often has standard temperature values of between 34- 36 degrees Celcius (which if interpreted would mean that most people are largely hypothermic.. like vampires. At the second desk, the only thing they seemed to be keen on is whether we had yellow fever certificates or not..(and we know why).
I was so disturbed and I went back to ask why they had been so laissez faire about it.. and there I was tossed from one person to another and the gentleman who told us to pass just walked away. I called the Emergency lines to report this and the phone call went unanswered.
At the immigration desk, we filled a form and from the look of things, the contact details were too scanty to trace anyone if needed!
So in other words.. thanks to our super relaxed screening at the airport- we let passengers from a case positive country get into the country without any reasonable screening and none of us were even informed on the need to self-quarantine!
Perhaps at this time- we need to have some seriousness at JKIA’s port health and ensuring that only our keenest, most serious and most patriotic health workers are at the points of entry and that they can access up to date training and information on COVID19.. So that the serious message about the response on paper from MoH becomes serious in reality.”