Kenyans in China have expressed fear following the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
Kenyans who spoke to Daily Nation faulted the Kenyan government for doing little to ensure citizens living, working and studying in China are safe.
Some countries including the United States, France, and Russia are reported in the process of evacuating their citizens in Wuhan, where the virus originated. Although China has announced travel bans, The Washington Post reported that the US on Sunday planned to airlift its citizens and diplomats out via a charter flight.
France was also negotiating a deal with China to see its nationals moved to Changsha, a city 100 miles away from Wuhan, by bus while Russia was working with the government to ensure quick repatriation of its citizens.
“I haven't heard from the Kenyan embassy or any information originating from the embassy,” a Kenyan student in Beijing told Daily Nation.
On Saturday afternoon, a representative from the Kenyan embassy, only identified as Dr. Robert, reached out to a students’ group in Beijing asking for contacts of all Kenyans in Wuhan.
“Good afternoon, with the current outbreak of coronavirus with epicenter in Wuhan, the Kenyan Embassy would like to have contacts of all Kenyans in Wuhan,” Dr. Robert’s message to the students’ chat group in Beijing read.
Most Kenyan students said they were safe but they were concerned that officials at the Kenyan embassy were “too slow”.
“We are OK though not allowed to move around unless it is really necessary, for instance, to buy food where, even then, one should be in a face mask,” said a student in Guazhoung University of Science and Technology.
The number of Kenyan students in Wuhan is believed to be about 100.
“Most of us are just indoors for fear of contracting the disease. There is also the fear of running out of basics such as food, water, et cetera, because most stores are closed. With your prayers and support from our government, we hope to come out safe,” said a student in Wuhan.
“We are not many here because we are on vacation. I was not planning to go home this holiday. Although my family is worried about me, I would like to reassure them that, for now, all is well,” another student said.