The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has put in place measures to safeguard staff and port users against Coronavirus (COVID-19) following the global outbreak of the deadly viral disease.
KPA Managing Director (MD) Dr. Daniel Manduku announced the establishment of a special committee to spearhead preparedness for the Coronavirus disease outbreak at the port of Mombasa.
The 11-member committee under the chairmanship of Eng. Julius Tai, Head of Container Terminal Engineering, comes at a time when the world is faced with uncertainty following the outbreak of the virus.
Dr. Manduku in a statement said the committee is expected to be instrumental in supporting the National Emergency Response Committee especially in its efforts to enhance surveillance at all ports and points of entry.
The committee will develop and communicate precautionary measures on the Coronavirus outbreak, conduct staff awareness and sensitization on the virus, periodically review corporate preparedness to handle the disease and report to the MD for support, identify requisite protective gears to be urgently sourced for distribution to all KPA branches.
The committee is also expected to identify quarantine facilities in liaison with the Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Response Committee as well as collaborate with various government agencies for enhanced response and effective communication on emerging issues about the virus.
At the same time, the port MD said sanitizers are being installed at various strategic points including the gates and receptions for people to cleanse their hands as they get into the port area.
Meanwhile, the KPA MD has announced temporary cancellation of all official international trips in an effort to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus.
“I have with immediate effect suspended all official international trips until further advised otherwise,” said Dr. Manduku in a circular to all staff.
He said employees scheduled to travel out of the country on official trips that have a direct effect on operation, performance, and benefit to the authority and those willing to travel at their own expense or volition would have to get direct approval from his office.
Dr. Manduku added that upon return from overseas they would be subjected to quarantine and thorough checkup.
“Further, I have also constituted a committee to spearhead preparedness to the Coronavirus outbreak, General Managers are hereby required to promptly implement and ensure total compliance to this directive,” he further noted.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID- 19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.
WHO reported that though globally the attack of the Coronavirus was very high its containment was still possible.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.
In humans, several Coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered Coronavirus causes Coronavirus disease COVID-19.
According to the WHO, as at 5th March 2020, there were 95,333 confirmed cases reported globally with 3,282 deaths, the majority from mainland China.
Kenya has investigated twenty-three (23) alerts involving 31 suspected cases that have all tested negative to COVID-19.
The Government has stepped up preparedness measures through heightened surveillance systems at all points of entry, health facilities and communities across the country to ensure that there’s no importation of COVID-19 into the country.
President Uhuru Kenyatta issued an Executive Order No. 2 of 2020 on 28th February 2020 establishing the National Emergency Response Committee on the Coronavirus and gazzetted the new Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe as the chairperson.