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Turmoil at port after employee dies of Covid-19, several hospitalised, others sent home

All Kenya Port Authority (KPA) employees aged over 58 years and those with pre-existing medical conditions have been sent home following an outbreak of Covid-19 at the Port of Mombasa.

Yesterday, KPA General Manager, Human Resource and Administration Daniel Ogutu said the directive to send the cluster of employees home came into effect on Friday. 

On Thursday, an employee of the port, Ursula Buluma, 58, succumbed to the virus, becoming Kenya’s third confirmed casualty. The native of Busia, who had a pre-existing medical condition was buried in a Mombasa cemetery under heavy security with only a handful of colleagues and family members.

It is unclear how many employees will be affected by the new directive but most workers at the port are aged below 45 years . The stay-at-home order will, mostly, affect employees in Administration, Terminal and Operations departments.

The deceased worked in the Administration Department, which deals with employees’ welfare. Three other employees she worked with are reported to have been quarantined after exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms.

The move has caused anxiety among 7,000-odd KPA staff at the port and hundreds of employees of other State agencies and private firms domiciled inside the facility.

“Ms Buluma died of Covid-19. She had some pre-existing medical condition but the virus killed her,” said KPA Principal Communication Manager Hajji Masemo.

Masemo, who is in the 11-member committee formed to contain the spread of Covid-19 at the port, said KPA will continue to review its measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Yesterday, health officials and the committee members were tracking down people who may have come into contact with Ms Buluma.

Several human rights groups led by Commission for Justice and Human Rights (CJHR) have criticised KPA management for the “casual manner in which they handled the threat of Covid-19.”

“KPA should test all its staff and other port users entering the facility as a matter of urgency,” said CJHR Executive Director Julius Ogogoh.

Covid 19 Time Series


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