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Coronaviruses are types of viruses that affect the tract of mammals, including humans. They are associated with common cold, pneumonia and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndromes (SARS) and can also affect the gut. An outbreak of a new coronavirus that began in China in the city of Wuhan has already claimed the lives of at least 100 people according to data released early Tuesday. Infections have been confirmed in other countries, but so far the majority of the infected people are in China.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has advised Kenyans against traveling to China, unless really urgently required to do so, but under great precaution. Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau on Monday released a statement warning about Wuhan, the epicenter of the new coronavirus. At least 48 million people were put under quarantine in 15 Chinese cities to stop the spread of this deadly virus.

Kenya has big business relations with China, where Kenya Airways operates at least two non_stop flights between JKIA Airport and Guangzhou. Kenyans are urged to avoid essential travel to Wuhan until the situation is contained. Those on essential travels must comply with additional screening measures that have been put in place by the authorities. The embassy in China has issued an alert to Kenyans living in the country, especially those in Wuhan to take high precautions to protect themselves.

The embassy is aware that there are 85 Kenyans in Wuhan registered with the embassy, and it is closely monitoring the situation, and encouraged unregistered Kenyans to register as a matter of importance. Although no one has yet tested positive for coronavirus in Kenya and in Africa in general, there have been constant online calls for the government to ensure the Ministry of Health is fully prepared in case of an outbreak.