Passenger Dies in Matatu, Body Abandoned Along Mombasa Rd


The body of an unidentified passenger was left abandoned for several hours on the side of the busy Mombasa Road on Tuesday Morning, November 24.

This was after the said passenger died aboard a 14-seater matatu plying the route, in what is suspected to be a Covid-19 case.

As early as 7 am, photos of the matatu passengers and crew standing desolate several metres away from the vehicle.

Footage has since emerged showing police officials and health workers donning PPEs in the area.

Image of a body lying along Mombasa Road on November 24, 2020.
Image of a body lying along Mombasa Road on November 24, 2020.

A knapsack sprayer can also be seen next to the matatu following a decontamination exercise.

The body was covered in a white cloth and placed on the side of the road as authorities directed traffic away from the scene in a bid to minimise any potential exposure.

It is not yet clear how many passengers were aboard the matatu when the passenger collapsed and died.

In July 2020, it was announced that Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) would require authorisation from the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA), Ministry of Health and Interior in order to operate.

According to the NTSA website, the operators have to obtain a public service transport clearance form duly filled by the three departments before getting authorisation to operate. 

The PSV operators are required to resubmit the application for operating which will be validated every 30 days failure to which their clearance would be revoked. 

The Ministry of Health explained that the regulations were designed to stop the spread of the Covid-19 through public transport.

Some of the requirements stipulated included the requirement to have hand sanitizers as well as reduced seat capacity to ensure social distancing among passengers. 

However, in October 2020, matatu operators threatened to ground their vehicles if the government did not lift Covid-19 restrictions on a limited number of passengers.

“Either we carry full capacity or we take all our vehicles to the police station by next week. The Corona that’s in matatus is the same in planes and trains and we are telling the government not to underestimate us,” said Jamal Ibrahim of the Matatu Owners Association.

Government Spokesperson Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna on Wednesday, November 11, warned Kenyans, asking them to avoid boarding PSVs that violate the set Covid-19 safety protocols.

He urged Kenyans to avoid matatus that don’t observe social distancing, adding that if one contracts the virus they are on their own and the government cannot protect them.

He added that efforts to stop the spread of the novel Coronavirus disease have to come from individuals.

Usikae kwa matatu kama hakuna physical distancing (don’t board a matatu that ignores the social distancing protocols).If you contract Covid-19, you are on your own. Hatuwezi kukuprotect (we cannot protect you) the initiative has to come from you,” the government spokesperson warned.

The latest incident involving the dead passenger mirrors the worrying surge in Covid-19 cases over the last 2 months.

By the time of publishing, the virus has so far claimed 1,392 lives, infected 77,785 with 51,903 recovering from the virus.

Govenrment Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna speaking in Nakuru on November 5, 2020.
Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna speaking in Nakuru on November 5, 2020.


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