The High Court has issued orders barring all flights from China coming to Kenya, a move that comes as a relief to the public over the executive’s careless handling of the possible outbreak of the virus in the country.

Justice James Makau issued the orders following a case filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) which sought to block the government from allowing any more Chinese nationals from coming into the country after 239 citizens of the Asian nation were sneaked into the country while other nations have firmly shut the door on the Asian country

The judge also ordered three Cabinet Secretaries Mutahi Kagwe of Health, James Macharia of Transport, Raychelle Omamo of Foreign Affairs as well as the Attorney General from letting any person from China either by air or sea. The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) was also ordered to facilitate the implementation of the order.

Justice Makau also ruled that the same orders apply to any other country adversely affected by the virus based on statistics gathered by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The three cabinet secretaries have also been ordered to trace the 239 Chinese nationals allowed into the country by the government on Wednesday and quarantine them at a Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) camp.

Meanwhile, President Uhuru Kenyatta has issued an executive order setting up a 21-member task force led by Kagwe mandated with preparing for a possible outbreak of the virus in the country.

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President Kenyatta said the team will coordinate Kenya’s preparedness, prevention and response to the threat posed by the deadly disease.

Uhuru also directed The Ministry of Health to identify and prepare isolation and treatment facilities in all Level Five and referral hospitals across the country by March 15, 2020.

“Kenya is a major international transport hub, with 70 percent of international passengers on transit, and there is a significant threat arising from the spread of the coronavirus to Kenya from countries that have new and ongoing outbreaks of the pneumatic disease,” Uhuru said in his Executive Order Number 2 of 2020.

The National Emergency Response Committee taskforce to be chaired by Kagwe will also have CS Omamo, CS Macharia, Defence CS Monica Juma, ICT CS Joe Mucheru and Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya as members.

Uhuru had come under fierce criticism from Kenyans on social media over the government’s handling of the matter after the story of the arrival of the 239 Chinese nationals at JKIA first broke on Thursday.

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Samuel Gitonga is a senior reporter at BUSINESS TODAY. Email: [email protected]

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