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KQ Still Flying to Italy Despite Massive Coronavirus Outbreak

Kenya Airways (KQ)[Photo/Courtesy]

National carrier Kenya Airways flights between Kenya and Italy have elicited an angry reaction from a section of Kenyans in the wake of the spread of coronavirus in the world.

Kahawa Tungu understands that KQ is still operating flights on the Nairobi-Rome route despite Italy being one of the country’s that have recorded the highest number of coronavirus deaths outside China.

According to Flightradar24 aircraft tracker, KQ128 flight departed from Rome at 10:34 am and is expected to touch down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi, at around 7 pm.

This comes days after Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia stated that the government was mulling the suspension of flights between Nairobi and Rome due to the outbreak of the deadly virus.

Read: Uganda Orders Return Of 22 Foreigners Who Objected To Self-quarantine Coronavirus Measures

The CS was addressing the joint National Assembly and Senate committee last week after a similar move on flights from northern Italy cities of Milan and Verona.

“We are also monitoring Kenya Airways flights to Rome and Milan because, as you know, Italy has been hit hard by the virus in Verona,” Macharia told the committee.

Currently, Italy is on a total lockdown as coronavirus fear spread across the world with many countries putting in place emergency measures to contain the situation.

Last week, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe temporary lifted the suspension of flights between Kenya and Italy to allow for Italians stuck in the country be flown home.

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The CS stated that an empty plane from Italy will be allowed to land in Kenya to ferry the Italians back home.

“There are people locked up in Malindi about 800 of them. What we have done is to allow an empty flight to come into the airport and the passengers will have a safe flight home, ” said Kagwe.

A spot-check by this writer showed two flights from Mombasa BV5176 (Evelop Airlines) and BV5182 (Blue Panorama Airlines) headed to Rome and Milan respectively.

It’s not clear if the said flights are the ones the CS indicated were to ferry the Italians back home.

Read Also: Panic As Man With Coronavirus-like Symptoms Dies In Nairobi After A Flight From India

The virus, Covid-19, has left at least 113,000 people infected worldwide and resulted in more than 4,000 deaths.

However, in Africa, the cases have been minimal, with a majority of those confirmed to have the deadly virus being foreigners.

These countries are Tunisia, Togo, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa. Egypt remains the worst hit in Africa, with 55 confirmed cases.

The Kenyan government has maintained that there are no cases of coronavirus in the country as all reported cases have tested negative.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), coronavirus is a respiratory illness clinically resembling viral pneumonia and manifesting as fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Read Also: Coronavirus: Gov’t Temporary Lifts Italy Flight Ban, Suspends International Activities In Kenya

WHO has urged all countries to prepare for the potential arrival of COVID-19 by readying emergency response systems; increasing capacity to detect and care for patients; ensuring hospitals have space, supplies and necessary personnel; and developing life-saving medical

Netizens are now calling for the immediate suspension of all flights between Nairobi and Italy as they pose a great risk to Kenyans.

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