• Approximately 300,000 commuters use the Likoni crossing channel daily alongside an average of 6,000 vehicles.
• Earlier, there was confusion after a letter supposedly from Transport CS said PSVs could be allowed on vessels; they currently don't board.
Management of the ferry services has been temporarily put under the National Police Service, the Coast Guard and the National Government Administrative Office.
This means police officers will be manning the channel and directing ferries throughout the day.
This was announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday evening in his address to the nation.
Approximately 300,000 commuters use the Likoni crossing channel daily alongside an average of 6,000 vehicles.
Uhuru said all instructions and directives issued by members of the three institutions must strictly be adhered to.
The Likoni ferry crossing channel has been one of the most difficult places for the government to manage, especially in the directives issued to maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 metres apart.
On Wednesday, Uhuru said Kenyans across the country, not only at the ferry, must adjust their lifestyles.
“Social distancing is now our new normal. It must be our new way of life until such time as we concur this (coronavirus),” Uhuru said.
This comes after an earlier confusion on what directive to follow after a letter signed by Transport CS James Machari emerged directing KFS boss Bakari Goa to ensure no pedestrians board the ferry.
The letter suggested that Macharia had allowed public service vehicles to ferry people across the channel via the ferries.
Currently, PSVs are not allowed onto the ferries except a few categories including buses.
The letter dated March 24 and addressed to Goa contradicted an earlier directive by KFS and county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo saying passengers would be allowed on the vessels on the condition that they cover their mouths and noses.
On Wednesday, Uhuru said the most effective way of fighting the coronavirus is by adopting behavioural changes.
He regretted that politicians and religious leaders have been among the people spreading the virus in Kenya because they failed to heed to protocols announced by the Health ministry to curb the spread of the virus.
“We have taken these measures to protect the lives of our citizens,” Uhuru said.
He warned that the government may take even further and more drastic measures if need be to protect life and property.
Uhuru called for cooperation, unity, collaboration and understanding in the war against Covid-19.
He said some mitigation measures have been taken because Kenyans have failed to be disciplined enough to heed protocol.
Edited by R.Wamochie