Kenya Ferry Services yet to provide passengers with hand sanitizers

By Fred Kai On Sun, 15 Mar, 2020 14:17 | 2 mins read
Body of man who plunged into Likoni channel pulled out of his vehicle
The Kenya Ferry Service ferries over 300,000 passengers and more than 6,000 vehicles daily. PHOTO COURTESY

A day after the Mombasa County Emergency Response on COVID-19 Committee issued directives on containing the disease, churches and hotels at the Coast are enforcing precautionary measures for worshippers and hotel guests by issuing hygiene and safety advisories against the spread of the virus.

A spot-check by K24 TV in some of the churches established that churches had complied with the government directive to provide hand sanitizers at the entrance of the churches even as a number of them experienced low turnout of worshippers this Sunday.

In Mombasa County, at the Holy Ghost Cathedral Worshippers compiled with the church’s directive to wash their hands at their main gate.

Linda Apiyo a security officer at the church, said that the church management had established washing points at the churches main gate.

“We still have fear, however, we have put up measures where worshippers are not allowed inside the church without washing their hands,” she said.

Inside the church, unlike in the past where worshipers were given sacrament, on Sunday worshipers were allowed to pick the sacrament themselves.

On his part, Father Rapheal Kanga said that the holy water was not available at the church and worshippers were encouraged to bring water that would be prayed for.

“There is no more holy water in the church and we have replaced that by telling our worshippers to bring their water in bottles to be prayed for, for one to use back at home”, he said.

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Kongowea, with a population of over 3,000 worshipers, had everyone sanitized before they entered the church hall.

However, some of the worshipers said the number had drastically reduced.

Mombasa County has banned all nightclubs from operating for the next 30 days after the first coronavirus case was reported. Normal bars and restaurants will operate until 11pm.

The Inspectorate, National Youth Service and other security agencies will man the ferry crossing where hand washing provisions at both sides will be made available. The SGR terminal will also provide all passengers with hand sanitizers.  

By Sunday afternoon, Kenya Ferry services KFS were yet to implement the directive with some of the commuters complaining of their unpreparedness.

The management is grappling with huge number of passengers that commute across the Likoni Channel.

Ferry users raised concerns over lack of sanitizers, soap and water to clean their hands at the busy crossing channel since they were being exposed and risked contracting the disease.

Mary Wangari, a Likoni resident, said was afraid of contracting the virus since no measures had been implemented by the county government to ensure ferry users cleaned their hands.

“I am worried, the county announced that they would put soap, water and sanitizers at strategic places to enable us wash our hands. However, as you can see this is not happening at all. We are here risking our lives since we have to go on with our daily activities,” she said.

The committee, co-chaired by Governor Hassan Joho and county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo, also suspended prison visits for the next 30 days.

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