The Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) has been directed to enforce safety and security measures at the busy Likoni crossing channel in Mombasa to stem the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
Coast Regional Commissioner (RC) John Elungata underscored the need to step up safety measures at the vital channel in the wake of coronavirus cases and ‘limit the risk of infections’.
Elungata who toured the channel that connects Mombasa Island to the mainland south directed the KFS management to restrict the number of people boarding the ferries per trip to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Elungata has appealed to KFS management to closely work with public health authorities on both sides of the channel to ensure the safety of their passengers and the wider public by also increasing sanitation on its vessels and inside its terminals.
KFS installed hand-washing facilities at both sides of the channel as a preventive measure against the deadly coronavirus.
He urged ferry users to play their part in preventing the spread of the virus and support the safety initiatives being implemented in the wake of the global pandemic.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and we have identified the ferry crossing channel as a possible flash-point of the pandemic and we are prepared for possible cases of the virus” he said.
He said more police officers would be deployed at the channel to help in the enforcement of the new safety measures such as crowd control.
“We ask for public support as this is not a permanent state but a temporary move to safe lives as Coronavirus continues to spread around the world” noted Mr. Elungata.
The Regional administrator said the restrictions are temporary measures designed to protect ferry passengers, motorists and crews.
[Locals boarding Mv-Kwale at the Likoni ferry channel. Photo/Ahmed Omar].
“As cases of Coronavirus continue to rise globally we have no option but to take stringent measures to minimise the risk posed to the ferry users” he stressed out.
Elungata said the restrictions on the flow of passengers to the ferries are in line with government guidance on ‘social distancing’ and in the best interest of the health of the population.
“The ferries are usually packed to capacity and avoiding close contact becomes near impossible, that is why we are cutting down the number of passengers per trip” he said.
He urged ferry users to embrace maintaining distance from one another while on-board the vessels to prevent transmission of the highly contagious virus.
More than 300,000 people and 6,000 vehicles cross the busy channel daily using MV Jambo, MV Kwale, MV Likoni, MV Kilindini and MV Nyayo.
Kenya has so far confirmed 25 Covid-19 cases.