Kenya

Covid-19: KPA isolates 16 staff after two test positive

Covid-19: KPA isolates 16 staff after two test positive
  • Due to the increasing cases of infections at the facility, operations are set to be scaled further.

  • The KPA has also asked majority of staff to work from home while the number of casuals have been reduced by half.

The Kenya Ports Authority has put 16 staff in isolation after two tested positive. This comes after a KPA staff succumbed to the virus last week.

In a letter dated April 4, the acting KPA Managing Director Rashid Salim is seeking accommodation at Bandari Maritime Academy to isolate 16 staff said to have interacted with a colleague who tested positive for the virus.

TESTED POSITIVE

“The KPA has had two of its staff tested positive for Covid-19 and it has therefore become necessary that 16 other staff who were working with one of the affected to quarantine to avoid any further spread of the virus,” read the letter.

Mr Salim said the 16 to be quarantined are critical to port operations and there is need for them to be isolated in an environment where they can continue to work online as they are being monitored by medical personnel.

“It is in this regard that we are seeking your consent to have group accommodated at the academy hostel for the next 14 days. KPA will be responsible for their being hosted at the facility. We have consulted with the county Public Health Office who has no objection to this arrangement,” read the letter addressed to Bandari Maritime Academy Joseph Okhako by KPA MD.

Due to the increasing cases of infections at the facility, operations are set to be scaled further.

Since last week, a KPA staff; Ursula Bumula succumbed to Covid-19, tens of people were sent on mandatory quarantine while hundreds asked to self-isolate.

The KPA has also asked majority of staff to work from home while the number of casuals have been reduced by half.

Half of the group that plays a key role of stripping cargo, have been asked to go on leave as shifts were reduced from usual four to two since the introduction of 7pm to 5am curfew by President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 27.

SENT HOME

As a means to protect the elderly who are categorised as more vulnerable to Covid-19, the ports’ management has ordered all staff aged 58 years to go home.

KPA General Manager Human Resource and Administration Daniel Ogutu confirmed that the elderly staff were sent home last Friday.

Most of the badly affected departments include administration, welfare and sports.

The Nation has learnt different crucial agencies working at the Port of Mombasa among them Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Trade Network Agency (the only state agency mandated to facilitate cross border trade) have reduced their staff to avoid spread of the virus.

A number of traders will have to wait longer for their goods to be cleared after KenTrade suspended physical customer contact to curb virus spread.

“We wish to notify our stakeholders that KenTrade will continue to offer the Ken Trade Net System services to all users. Please note we will not handle any customer at our contact centre office as a precautionary measure to ensure that we minimise the risk of exposure and spread of the virus," read KenTrade public notice.

DELAYS

Traders have already been warned of delays in clearance of up to 72 hours as all vessels docking at the port were made to undergo mandatory inspection and its crew screened for Covid-19.

Different measures outlined by respective countries importing through port of Mombasa, including border closures, are likely to cause congestion at the port and at Inland Container Depot in Nairobi due to delays in cargo clearance.

Car dealers, especially those in transit from Mombasa to various countries, will be most hit since only basic goods are being ferried to targeted countries.  An average, 9,500 imported vehicles pass through the Port of Mombasa every month.

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