Kenya has heightened screening of ship crews and tourists arriving in the country through water to stop entry of any person with the deadly coronavirus disease, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director Daniel Manduku has said.
Manduku said the government has deployed port health officials to screen all visitors.
Speaking at the port of Mombasa while welcoming the first cruise ship this year, Manduku assured Kenyans that the port is prepared to deal with any suspected coronavirus case.
KPA is also tracking the movement of all vessels to identify those that have called at any port in China in the last two weeks.
This comes in the wake of reports that at least 136 passengers tested positive for the virus aboard cruise ships in Hong Kong and Japan.
China being a major import source for Kenya with annual import value of Sh 370 billion, the MD said KPA has been forced to increase surveillance on vessels sailing to Kenya.
“We are on high alert and we have centers for carrying out screening to detect any incident before we refer them to other hospitals, but as far as am concerned, we have so far not received any case,” said Manduku.
Manduku said port health officials have conducted rigorous screening on all the tourists and crew members on board Marco Polo cruise ship that docked on Thursday morning at the port of Mombasa.
MS Marco Polo, owned by the Global Maritime Group under charter to UK-based Cruise and Maritime Voyages, brought about 630 passengers (both tourists and crew).
The cruise ship, which also had a stop in Mozambique and Zanzibar, is headed to Seychelles then to India, Sri-Lanka among other countries.
According to Grant Holmes, the Vice president, Global Cruise Ship Solutions Company, the vessel will be in the country for an overnight stay with tourists going for an excursion in Mombasa town and the nearby wildlife and marine parks.
“This is the first time for this ship to dock here in Mombasa. We want our guests to experience what Kenya tourism destination has to offer. We are finding Kenya a very suitable place to visit and we are excited,” said Holmes.
The official said with the construction of a cruise ship terminal, European cruise ship companies will continue visiting the Kenyan Coast as it has now established itself as a standard global destination.
He hailed the Kenyan government for putting up a world-class cruise ship waiting-bay at the port of Mombasa.