Countering Corona virus spread:People with flu signs barred from Mombasa ferries

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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,25TH MARCH,2020-People with flu-like symptoms will no longer be allowed to board ferries at the Likoni crossing in Mombasa, the government has announced as it grapples to contain the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in the region.

According to the Daily Nation,the Mombasa County emergency response committee on Covid-19, led by Mr Gilbert Kitiyo (chairman) and Governor Hassan Joho, said in a signed statement that anyone with flu-like symptoms should not board the ferries.

Instead, the individuals have been directed to seek health services from the nearest hospital.

All private hospitals were also directed to set aside a number of beds for Covid-19 patients.

“The measures which must be observed by ferry users include hand washing and use of handkerchiefs or a piece of cloth for covering the mouth and nose. Matatus, tuktuks, boda bodas and hawkers to be moved away from the parking stations around the ferry to create space for crowd management,” the two county officials said.

They further instructed salons and barbershops to close down with immediate effect.

The committee said that sensitisation of residents should be done in every sub-county.

Deputy Governor William Kingi said the coronavirus has entered Mombasa and precautions must be taken to combat its spread.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Dr Kingi said it cannot be business as usual after Mombasa recorded some confirmed Covid-19 cases.

“I am sad to inform you that coronavirus has now entered Mombasa with some confirmed cases and even more suspected. Many of the cases associated with the neighbouring counties actually involve persons living in Mombasa. With the high rate of spread, especially cross-infection, it cannot be business as usual,” Dr Kingi warned.

The deputy governor urged the residents to stay indoors, saying crowded spaces like the Likoni ferry crossing, matatus, buses and religious congregations are high-risk areas.

Dr Kingi urged the residents to regularly wash their hands with water and soap.

Four vessels move at least 320,000 people daily at the Likoni crossing channel.

The government has provided the users with water and detergents to wash their hands after installing 200 taps on either side of the channel.

Concerned ferry users say the vessels continue to operate normally, with no social distancing being observed.

Last week, Kenya Ferry Services fumigated the vessels.

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