We are unable to test for coronavirus - Ministry of Health

There have been 4 suspected cases

A file photo of scientists in China working on containing coronavirus

The Ministry of Health on Wednesday admitted that it is yet to get the full technical capacity to test the deadly coronavirus.

Health PS Susan Moche made the admission while appearing before the National Assembly's Health Committee where she had been summoned to give an update on the country's preparedness on dealing with coronavirus.

She told MPs that while the KEMRI's staff was properly trained to test the virus, they were yet to get the technical capacity as the country did not have the requisite reagents that are applied on the samples drawn from suspected patients to confirm presence of the virus.

The PS said the country had been relying on South Africa to test cases where some patients have been suspected to have the coronavirus.

We have identified four suspected cases whose samples were drawn and confirmatory tests concluded in South Africa found all are negative,” PS Mochache said.

The Ministry said it was working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to procure the much-needed reagents and test kits to speed up the process of testing the deadly virus.

"As a country, we are prepared to combat the outbreak of coronavirus though the matter has been complicated by the newness of the virus. KEMRI has the capacity to diagnose the disease but we lack reagent kits and only a few countries in the world have them," the ministry's head of department for disease Daniel Langat said.

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