Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe confirmed the case in a press statement to the country.
"Ministry of health has confirmed the first coronavirus case in Kenya. The Kenyan citizen returning from the US to Nairobi via London on 5th March," the Health CS stated.
As a result, all public gatherings meetings, games, events, church crusades have been suspended as the country battles to contain the deadly virus. More than 4,900 people have so far died and over 132,000 have been infected globally, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
"Churches can have services as long as they have hand sanitizer while schools will remain open but inter school games are cancelled," CS Kagwe stated.
As the coronavirus continues to unfold, Kenyans are now at government’s mercy and should they fall ill, their insurance covers will be useless.
AAR Insurance chief executive Nixon Shigoli said once a disease is declared a pandemic, the burden of medical care provision shifts from insurers to the government.
“Insurers now have to think very quickly but I haven’t heard of anyone in the industry who has included coronavirus in their medical offerings,” he said.
On Wednesday, WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic as the virus continued to spread across the world. More than 124,000 people in at least 114 countries have been infected with COVID-19, the medical term for the virus, according to WHO. Of those, more than 68,000 have recovered, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the virus.
Mr. Shigoli said if underwriters were to decide to introduce such a product it would likely be costly, meaning it wouldn’t meet its intended goal.
“The truth is, we might introduce a product that caters to coronavirus but the uptake may not be as promising. Very few Kenyans are conscious enough to buy such a cover,” Shigoli said.
Prior to being declared a pandemic, any case of coronavirus declared locally would have been taken care of by an underwriter under the infected person’s medical policy.
“Epidemics and pandemics are not covered globally because they can be catastrophic,” Jubilee Insurance chief executive Patrick Gitonga said.
Later in the day, Insurance Regulatory Authority said they had engaged with insurance companies and agreed that the insurers will continue to provide their services to policy holders affected or infected with the virus.