The decision by Ministry of Transport to allow matatus and other public service vehicle (PSV) operators to resume carrying passengers at full capacity might ultimately turn out disastrous.
Even though the government spelt out strict measures — like crews ensuring that passengers put on face masks and the owners fumigating vehicles and providing sanitisers for customers — that won’t counter Covid-19.
One of the most critical guidelines for combating the coronavirus is social distancing; without ait, the number of cases in Kenya will continue to increase daily.
Even if passengers wash hands and wear masks yet they are close to one another, that will fuel the spread of the deadly virus.
As much as the ministry aims at reviving the economy and ensuring that everything goes back to normal, the officials also have to focus on the cost of economic revival. If it will cost Kenyans their lives, then it is not worth it. They should go for options that do not have people get into close contact with one another.
The fight against Covid-19 is in progress and the battle is not won yet. The ministry should wait until the positivity rate is below one per cent before letting their guard down.
John Mutiso, Makueni
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The relaxation of some Covid-19 health protocols for PSV operators has come at a time when the pandemic is still potent.
It must have been a hard decision to make, and those responsible, it is hoped, exhausted all possible alternatives before reaching the decision. But self-regulation in the chaotic matatu industry is still a mirage if current goings-on are anything to go by.
However, by the same breath, let the PSV operators reciprocate the government’s gesture by lowering fare to the pre-coronavirus levels to cushion the already economically disadvantaged wananchi. We should all be considerate of the downtrodden as we wrestle with the pandemic.
Opiyo Oduwo, Kisumu
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The recent announcement by the government to allow the transport sector to resume carrying passengers at full capacity could be a recipe for more Covid-19-related deaths.
It does not make sense for the government not to allow full resumption of church services and hospitality industries then do it for public transport, where the virus is more likely to spread. Yet the former are more organised in terms of Covid-19 health protocols than the matatu industry.
All the sectors of the economy have suffered the wrath of the pandemic. If there is a sector that really needed to adjust to the ‘new normal’, then it is the transport industry. This is one of the most unregulated sectors with unruly players that could easily wipe out the little gains in the fight against the coronaviru.
Seth Mwangani, Uasin Gishu