State turns to matatu operators in coronavirus preparedness

Matatus in Nairobi. [Photos Courtesy]

The government has stepped up its efforts in coronavirus preparedness with the latest development being roping in stakeholders in the transport industry.

On Tuesday, Transport CS James Macharia held a forum with representatives from the matatu industry and those in charge of railway transport in a bid to rally for support in fighting the virus which claimed over 3,000 lives globally.

In the meeting which was also attended by Ministry of Health officials, among them Health Director-General Patrick Amoth, strict hygiene practices in the sector were called upon.

Amoth said the ministry has so far kick-started a campaign together with transport stakeholders aimed at training the other parties on best hygiene practices and share information with them on coronavirus.

“We have come up with a training programme which we will share with our technical teams, and have agreed to start the sensitization programmes. We will escalate this to all the counties in the country,” he said as quoted by People Daily.

He further called upon matatus to display the hotline numbers provided by the ministry on coronavirus in their vehicles.

Federation of the Public Transport Operators (FPTO) chairman Edwin Mukabana said that all their concerns including response to emergencies and facilities to handle the cases were all addressed satisfactorily.

The meeting came in the wake of reports by the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) that coronavirus is contained through basic measures.

Rodney Adam, an infectious diseases specialist in the university’s Department of Pathology said there should be no cause for alarm over COVID-19 citing that it mainly attacks the elderly.

“The virus is different from Ebola, influenza and other viruses which must worry governments more than the COVID-19 which mainly attacks the elderly,” Adam said during a presentation on Coronavirus to the stakeholders in the transport industry.

Last week, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said Kenyans will start receiving updates on coronavirus through text messages.