The Kenya Ferry Services Managing Director (MD), Bakari Gowa has urged Mombasa residents to stay at home and those feeling unwell to visit health facilities in their locality to avoid overwhelming the ferry as well as avoid possibility of contracting the dreaded coronavirus disease.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, the MD said the County Committee on COVID-19 has directed people to avoid unnecessary travels from their homes or to go wander in towns, warning that the disease is not a joke.
The MD said the successful implementation of the installation of handwashing and sanitization items at the Ferry is a milestone in the fight against the disease that is killing thousands of people around the world.
We appeal to Mombasa residents to remain safe and stay at home since the disease is real and is contracted in crowded places including the ferry among other places.
Bakari said it has internationally been agreed to maintain social distance to counter the spread, adding that many people in Mombasa have not taken the matter with the seriousness it deserves.
He reiterated that safety routines will be imposed, starting today, for the Likoni channel ferry users to protect their mouth and nose.
Bakari said people should put on Masks, Hijab, handkerchiefs or pieces of clothing to cover their inhaling organs both mouth and nostrils.
He directed all the users to adhere to the requirement failure to which they will not be allowed to board the ferry.
Bakari said although there are enough ferries to carry people across the Likoni Channel, maintaining social distance is critical in this desperate times, thus discouraging people boarding the vessel for aimless trips to and from the Mombasa Island.
Similar sentiments were echoed by the Mombasa County Commissioner (CC), Gilbert Kitiyo warning people that they will be forced to remain home if they defy to do so at will.
He stated that the government would not wish to go to the extremes of using force to protect people from themselves but noted that if worse comes to the worst, a curfew and total lockdown is a possible option starting soon.
The CC said the government is doing everything possible to minimize the possibility of Mombasa people contracting the killer disease, saying discouraging the use of ferry as one way of containing the spread of the pandemic is not aimed at frustrating the residents, but instead, to help them during this dangerous period.
“We know ferry carries a lot of people and is one area which is keenly under observation by everyone, including the President,” noted Kitiyo
He stressed that the disease is already here and the people should stay safe at home since it is not a joke.
The CC repeated safety tips shared by the Ferry MD for people to use a piece of cloth, mask, hijab, or handkerchief to cover their mouth and nose if they must use the ferry.
He issued a stern directive for people to remain at home if they have no serious business in Mombasa town or elsewhere.
By Joseph Kamolo