Kagwe warns over excess passengers

Monday, December 21st, 2020 00:00 |
An overloaded Passenger Service Vehicle operating in Nairobi. The government has cautioned operators against the unruly behaviour during the festive season. Photo/PD/FILE

The Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has warned  operators of  public service vehicles that those found ferrying excess passengers would be nabbed and detained at police stations. 

He said his ministry is working with that of Transport and the Inspector General of Police to ensure greedy matatu operators would not put lives of Kenyans at risk of contracting Covid-19.

Kagwe said the detained vehicles would only be released in January after celebrations of Christmas and New Year holidays.

He observed that some PSV operators may tend to ferry more passengers than required numbers with aim of making extra profit during this period when many people were believed to travel to various destinations to celebrate Christmas holiday.

“Some drivers and touts may be guided by their greed and opt to ferry more passengers; we will not allow this as it will worsen the pandemic.”

Social distance, he said, must be adhered to so as to ensure the spread of Covid-19 is controlled noting that people must also avoid social gathering not only at public areas but also at homes.

“Is my appeal as people celebrate Christmas and New Year, they should not abandon protocols given by the ministry of health to help contain the spread of Covid-19.”

Kagwe urged Kenyans to avoid travelling, where possible, especially to rural areas as frequent movement will lead to spike of the disease.

“Don’t take the virus from Nairobi to the upcountry where our elderly parents are, we can enjoy the holidays where we are and ensure we don’t spread the disease further,” he said.

Kagwe’s sentiments came at a time when some PSV operators are taking advantage of the holidays to ferry excess passengers.

Last week, police apprehended PSVs in Murang’a after they were found ferrying excess passengers.

Majority of the PSV are also blamed for ignoring Covid-19 protocols, something, which is feared, may lead to a surge of the virus.

“Some matatu operators have forgotten to sanitize their passengers; drivers and other members of the crew most of the time forget to put on masks.

This may get us back to where we have come from in terms of Covid-19,” stated Kagwe.

His sentiments were echoed by Murang’a County Woman Representative Sabina Chege who challenged Kenyans to shelve their plans to travel upcountry this time the country is faced by a coronavirus.

Chege who is also chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Health said reduced movement of people may assist in combating spread of the virus. - KNA

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