COVID-19: Alarm as another KPA employee tests positive

The port of Mombasa.Alarm has been raised after a second employee tested positive for COVID-19 at the port COURTESY

The second case of COVID-19 confirmed at the port has sparked speculations that Mombasa port is the epicenter of the dreaded Coronavirus spread in Mombasa.

So far,18 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Mombasa making it the county with the second-highest number of cases after Nairobi.

The first KPA case succumbed to the virus at the Mombasa hospital last week while the other is hospitalized, sparking speculation that the two may have interacted with many others and infected them.

But KPA principal communications officer Haji Masemo told Baraka FM, that the two could not be used to pass judgment over the entire port.

“Apart from the two, several other staff who were suspected were isolated, tested and they emerged negative,” Masemo, told Baraka on telephone.

His remarks came just a day after a letter purporting to have been written by the acting MD Rashid Salim requesting the Bandari college to allow port authorities to quarantine 16 staff at the college hostel surfaced.

According to the letter dated the fourth of April which Masemo claims did not come from the authority, the 16 staff came into contact with two KPA employees who have tested positive.

However, Masemo failed to comment on whether 16 port staff had been quarantined at the college.

 The port, with a workforce of 7,000, has also reduced staff in non-essential departments especially administration, Haji said, in efforts to de-congest and enhance social distancing.

“Those reporting to work are the ones in crucial areas like cargo handling, and even for them, we are using shifts to control numbers,” he said.

“We are cautiously working with just enough staff.”

He said elderly staff and those with pre-existing medical conditions had been given leave to stay home.

“Operations at the port are going on as usual. We are ok and just ensuring we adhere to the health ministry safety guidelines,” said Masemo.