RED FLAG RAISED

Matatus, markets ill-prepared to prevent virus spread – lobby

Coast regional coordinator for matatu owners says sanitisers too expensive

In Summary

• 'In all the markets, nothing has been done to show that there are measures to mitigate the spread of the virus'

Coast Civil Society Organisation Network chair Zedekiah Adika address the press after inspecting the Coast General Hospital's Isolation Centre on Wednesday, March 18, 2020
NOT SATISFIED: Coast Civil Society Organisation Network chair Zedekiah Adika address the press after inspecting the Coast General Hospital's Isolation Centre on Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

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Matatus, markets and forex bureaus have been listed among sectors that were yet to roll out precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

 

Coast Civil Society Organisation Network on Wednesday said they conducted a survey on the preparedness of public offices in Mombasa to mitigate the possible spread of the virus and found the three sectors wanting.

The network, through its 12-member rapid response team, visited more than 85 private and public offices in the county and over 10 major matatu termini.

They gave the Coast General Hospital a clean bill of health saying the team was impressed by the level of preparedness at the hospital.

They also visited 10 banks, 17 hospitals, four markets, six forex bureaus, the ferry crossing, SGR terminal and the Moi International Airport.

“In all the markets, nothing has been done to show that there are measures to mitigate the spread of the virus,” the network's chair Zedekiha Adika said.

He said no matatu provides sanitisers for the passengers.       

It is a government directive that public service vehicle operators provide sanitisers for passengers to use while embarking and disembarking.

 

“We want the saccos to be quick and come up with a solution. This virus is no joke,” Adika said.

But the Matatu Owners Association coordinator for Coast Salim Mbarak said it will be a challenge for matatu owners to provide sanitisers.

“We are aware of the directive by the government. We support our national chairman Simon Kimutai that we have to adhere to the government directive. But we have challenges,” Mbarak said.

He said the sanitisers have become scarce because of the scramble for the commodity. The available ones are so expensive it won’t make economic sense to buy them, he said.

He said the cheapest sanitiser goes for around Sh700.

“How many of these will be used in a day by one matatu? Consider that the owner expects only Sh3,000-4,000 a day,” Mbarak said.

He said in a meeting with the top officials, they agreed that providing soap and water at specific points will be a more viable and sustainable option.

“In Central region and Nairobi, water and soap are provided at points of origin and destination. This can be replicated in Mombasa.” 

He said water and soap can be provided at the Bamburi and Likoni Ferry termini for matatus plying the route.

He said the national and county governments should consider providing the sanitisers for the matatus.

Haki Africa executive director Hussein Khalid said all international flights should be barred from landing in Mombasa.

“They should be diverted to Nairobi where there are testing facilities and can better deal with the patients having the virus,” Khalid said.

He called on the national government to be clear on the treatment for any of the patients who test positive for the virus.

“Right now it is not clear whether the government will pay for the treatment of the patients or whether they will have to pay from their own pockets,” he said. 

He said the government should also consider having a kitty to compensate patients of the virus, and those who are forced to self-quarantine.

“These people will not go to work and they will probably not be paid for the days they did not work,” Khalid said.

 

edited by peter obuya

A passenger boards a matatu at the Likoni ferry terminus.
NO SANITIZER A passenger boards a matatu at the Likoni ferry terminus.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI
Matatus pick passengers at the Likoni terminus.
UNPREPARED Matatus pick passengers at the Likoni terminus.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI
Coast CSOs Network at the CGH Isolation Centre on Wednesday.
EXPLANATION Coast CSOs Network at the CGH Isolation Centre on Wednesday.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI