Tension high as COVID-19 fears catch up with KRA

By Nzioka Justin | Sunday, Apr 12th 2020 at 10:25
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When it comes to attacking, COVID-19 has proven no discrimination. From dignitaries to the vulnerable, the outbreak is sweeping across people of all ranks.

Agencies have as well not been left behind by this menace, with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) being the latest to experience the heat.

For over a fortnight now, some KRA staff members based in Mombasa Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) have been on quarantine. This is after the team interacted with a foreigner who later turned out positive for COVID-19.

Ever since, over 10 KRA staffs have been put on quarantine, after having contacts with KPA employees who were diagnosed with COVID-19.

A week ago, two more KPA employees tested positive, prompting quarantining of agency's 16 members at Bandari Maritime Academy.

With the reported increase of infections at the KPA, the agency is set to further minimize its physical operations. Already last week, KPA lost its employee Ms. Ursula Bumula who died of COVID-19 outbreak.

Ms. Ursula's death forced the agency to send some to mandatory quarantine, while others were urged to self-quarantine themselves.

KPA and KRA staff work almost together. Therefore, their interaction, mostly during cargo clearance at the Mombasa port, poses an increased risk of COVID-19 spread.

KRA Custom Commissioner Mr. Kevin Safari has called upon KRA staff members to desist the handling of hard copy documents. "Ask importers, customs agents, and transporters to scan all their correspondence. Do not invite or allow anyone into your workspace, including fellow staff," stated Mr. Kevin through a Whatsapp group.

Marketing and Communications KRA Deputy Commissioner Ms. Grace Wandera revealed that they were working with the relevant authorities to closely monitor the employees who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.

KRA is also reportedly adhering to set guidelines by WHO and Health Ministry, in attempts to curb the spread.

"Our facilities teams at all locations are also regularly sanitizing the workplace, particularly any high traffic, high contact areas," stated Ms. Wandera.

KRA staff designated to high-risk areas have also been issued with Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), while the agency has greatly reduced operations for non-core activities.

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