Mass Testing for Covid-19 kicks off at the Port of Mombasa

Mombasa – April 20,2020

 Mass testing for the coronavirus commenced on Sunday at the Port of Mombasa for the employees of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) following a directive by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.

Acting Managing Director Eng. Rashid Salim and General Manager Operations and Harbor Master Captain William Ruto coordinated the exercise and were among the first 50 KPA staff to undergo the COVID-19 test.


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KPA Acting Managing Director Eng. Rashid Salim (L) and General Manager Operations and Harbor Master Captain William Ruto engage in a discussion during the mass testing exercise.

On Tuesday last week, during his daily briefings on COVID-19, the Hon. Mutahi Kagwe announced the government’s plans to roll out mass testing exercise taking into consideration the risk profile of clusters.

“In Nairobi for instance, the quarantine centers, hotels and isolation facilities and hospitals are top of our priority, as is the high population density area like Kibra. In Mombasa, we are deploying one thousand testing kits to Kenya Ports Authority based on the risk of transmission identified by our monitoring teams,” said the CS.

Officials from the Mombasa County Health Department who are undertaking the exercise at the Port said they are targeting at least 1000 tests in the first phase.


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 KPA employees queueing for the mass testing exercise.

The Acting MD announced that prior to the ongoing mass testing exercise, 157 staff in the Medical Services Department had been tested.

 “We are happy to note that so far the results for all the first 42 employees in that Department were negative,” he said.

 Eng. Rashid reaffirmed the Authority’s commitment in combating the spread of the virus through a raft of measures to guarantee the safety of staff and port users.

 In the last few days, the Port has implemented several of these measures including fumigation of key equipment, operations areas, offices, and workshops. Sanitization and hand washing   at the gates and entrance to buildings has been maintained.

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 Medical officers extract nose samples from a KPA employee .

“We are also checking temperatures of all those entering the Port to detect any suspected COVID-19 patients. On the seaside, we have put in place strict measures in conjunction with the Port Health to ensure that all necessary protocols are observed by ships scheduled to call at the Port of Mombasa,” Eng. Rashid said.

 The General Manager Operations Capt. William Ruto added that so far, no crew of any ship calling at the Port has tested positive and therefore demystified the misconception that COVID-19 at the Port is being transmitted by cargo ships.

 He noted that ships are required to declare their crew health status and the last ten ports of call. Those that came from countries infected by coronavirus are subjected to rigorous inspection, and crews are not allowed to get off the vessel.

 The Ag. MD also observed that sensitization of KPA employees and the Port community is ongoing through internal communication channels and the local FM radio stations.