The government on Friday ruled out the option of evacuating nearly 100 Kenyan students who are presently stuck in China’s Wuhan city after the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau said all the 91 Kenyan students in Wuhan were safe and that China is ensuring their safety.
"China is doing a great job of protecting our students where they are. All are taken care of and well. We admire what China has been able to do. However, we are preparing for all contingencies.," PS Macharia told reporters in Nairobi on Friday.
"China is facilitating Kenyans [there] in all possible ways, and keeping them safe as the government looks at options available to respond effectively for the best interest of the students."
“Let’s not create an impression that most of the countries have evacuated their people. I understand there are young people who are in China and they are apprehensive of the situation but it is normal in a situation like this.”
The virus, which originated in Wuhan, has so far killed 636 people in China with more than 31,000 infected, according to the latest figures by China's National Health Commission.
PS Kamau’s statement contradicts what President Kenyatta said during a forum in the United States on Wednesday. Addressing the forum in Washington, DC, Kenyatta said Kenya was ready to repatriate the students.
“We are also working; because we have got a good number of our students there, to see how we can support them and find out how we can also, when they do come and insist they are coming, ensure that they are put in quarantine for the required 14 days and ensure that they are not going to spread that virus around,” said Kenyatta.
An association for Kenyan university students in Wuhan this week wrote to the Ministry of Health pleading with the government to evacuate him. The students said the situation has worsened and they could no longer “keep calm.”
“We wish to state that under the guidance of your Ministry of Health, we are very ready and prepared to undergo all the stipulated health tests and checks including the 14 days strict quarantine in Kenya,” read the letter addressed to outgoing Health CS Sicily Kariuki.