Despite global concern, Kenya refuses to suspend flights to China
London, Jan. 29, 2020 (AltAfrica)-In Kenya, the national carrier on Wednesday announced that it was not planning to halt flights to China amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Kenya Airways (KQ) said it would continue monitoring the situation in the meantime and would liaise with the government on the situation.
Kenyan is one of the largest beneficiaries of Chinese investments in Africa. Since December 2015 the East African country has received no less than 13 grant projects worth US$102mn, four preferential loans projects worth US$292mn, 14 commercial projects worth US$8.545bn and other investment projects amounting US$564mn, from China.
“Cancellation of the flights is on the table but we are monitoring and we will take the action as soon as there’s eminent danger,” the airline’s acting chief executive officer Allan Kilavuka said Wednesday.
“We are monitoring this on a very regular basis, as frequently as every one hour. We will make a decision in collaboration with the government on if and when we should suspend the flight,” he added.
KQ’s decision comes other airlines suspended flight to China, including British Airways, Lion Air and Seoul Air.
KQ’s announcement comes as the number of people who have died from the disease hit 132, with 6,078 confirmed cases as of 29 January 2020. 115 people have been discharged.
Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this week expressed confidence that the disease will be defeated in due course.
“I have personally been directing the effort and deploying resources, I believe that as long as we strengthen our confidence, help each other, control and prevent the virus appropriately, and implement policies precisely, we will definitely overcome this disease,” President Xi said in a meeting with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom.
On his part, Adhanom hailed China for releasing information transparently, identifying pathogens in record time, and proactively sharing relevant viral gene sequences with the WHO and other countries.
He added that the world admired how the Chinese government has demonstrated firm political determination and adopted timely and powerful policies in the face of the coronavirus.
“I believe that the measures taken by China will effectively control and eventually overcome the disease,” he said.