• The two Italians were among 70 passengers aboard the Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa.
• Forty-four Kenyans on the same flight are under strict self-quarantine supervision.
Two Italians were Monday night denied entry into Mombasa over coronavirus fears.
The Italians were aboard an Ethiopian Airlines plane with 70 passengers from Addis Ababa.
“It is true there were some two passengers not allowed to disembark because their origin was Italy,” Mombasa county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said.
Italy, now in lockdown, is the European country most affected by coronavirus.
Kitiyo spoke at the ferry crossing on Tuesday after meeting the Kenya Ferry Services management and county government officials over measures to be implemented at the crossing to minimise the risk of coronavirus.
He said 44 Kenyans from Mombasa on the same flight are under strict self-quarantine supervision.
“So far, they are safe. They did not exhibit any symptoms of the virus.”
At the same time, the KFS has increased measures to ensure compliance with the guidelines provided by the County Emergency Committee on Covid-19.
Managing director Bakari Goa said they are providing hand-washing facilities at both sides of the ferry crossing.
The service also installed running water taps. “By the end of the day, we shall have, on the island side, 100 taps where ferry users will wash their hands,” Goa said.
Each user will be allowed half a minute to wash hands, meaning that 1,000 people will wash hands in five minutes.
An average 300,000 people cross the ferry daily. About 6,000 vehicles use the ferry daily.
“This is good enough for us to ensure that we shall not have long queues,” the MD said.
The KFS, alongside the county government inspectorate, will be sanitising the ferries daily.
About 200 ferry staff have been trained on the procedure and how to handle coronavirus in the unfortunate event of a confirmed or suspected case.
The TV monitors on the waiting bays will be streaming informational material.
All entry points within the ferry offices and compound facility will have hand-washing facilities.
“This is an emergency situation and we started all this on Saturday,” Goa said.
Kitiyo said the national and the county governments will provide crowd control measures.
“We have done our best to try and decongest some parts of Mombasa,” he said.
These include public beaches, recreational parks like Mama Ngina Waterfront Park, and nightclubs which have all been closed to the public.
He directed that hand-washing facilities should be provided in all markets and bus stops.
“Some of them have fully complied. There are a few who we are still pursuing to make them comply.”
The county commissioner cautioned against unnecessary movement, urging people to try as much as possible to stay at home.
Parents, he said, should restrain their children from unnecessary movement now that they have been sent home from schools.
He warned against spreading propaganda on social media.
“Some are posting scaring messages. Some post falsehoods. Some even retrieve old videos of the ferry area with congestion. Stop or blame yourselves,” he said.
Deputy Governor William Kingi said personal hygiene was critical in curbing the spread of coronavirus.
“For the little period that we are facing this pandemic, we have to make sacrifices. Children should remain at home and not roam the streets,” Kingi said.
Goa said ferry commuter discipline will be a challenge.
“Even touching the rails will be dangerous although it is important for support when the ferry is moving. The rails will be sanitised regularly,” he assured the public.
– mwaniki fm