27.3 C
Brisbane
Sunday, January 17, 2021

In Pictures: Riding Kenya’s matatus amid new coronavirus measures

Must read

The Nile River dispute: Egypt and Sudan pestering South Sudan?

Since South Sudan’s secession from Sudan in 2011, diplomatic relations between Juba and Khartoum became vague, and equally so was the case with Egypt....

Al-Shabaab ransacks village in Kenya as Governor calls for help

MANDERA, Kenya - A few days after Mandera Governor Ali Roba called for government actions in the region following increasing cases of the...

Museveni Declared Winner in Uganda; Military Blocks Opposition Candidate’s Home

KAMPALA, UGANDA - Uganda’s electoral commission on Saturday declared President Yoweri Museveni the winner of the 2021 general elections. Meanwhile, Ugandan military...

ALJAZEERA 26 MAR 2020

With limited resources and insufficient beds in intensive care units (ICUs), many African governments are looking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible. In almost every East African country, cases have been confirmed.

Kenya on Thursday reported its first death from COVID-19, while the total number of confirmed cases in the country rose to 31. All international flights are suspended, and a curfew from 9pm to 7am is in place.

According to the United Nations, the African continent is seeing an “extremely rapid evolution” of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kenya is known for its matatus – minibuses that often transport more people than they have seats. The vehicles are typically used by millions of Kenyans on a daily basis. But amid fears that the informal network could be a weak link in the fight against the coronavirus, Kenyan authorities have issued a series of directives for matatu companies.

All matatus now have to provide hand-sanitisers for all passengers before entering. Vehicles need to be cleaned twice a day and long-distance operators are asked to keep a detailed list of all their passengers. In order to prevent contamination, Kenyan officials have said that 14-seater matatus will carry only eight passengers, and vehicles that carry more than 30 passengers will carry not more than 60 percent of their capacity.

But with the country not in lockdown, Kenyans continue to go to work, while many people have jobs that cannot be done from home.

For some, a day without work would mean a day without food.

In an interview with Kenyan newspaper The Star, Cabinet Secretary for Transport James Macharia said matatu companies have to act now. “I have been telling the matatu associations that if this thing hits us hard, there will be nobody to carry. They must invest themselves to ensure their business model is sustained,” he said.

And so, among many drivers and matatu touts who are not yet taking precautions, some matatu staffers in Nairobi’s Westlands matatu terminal are wearing face masks as they disinfect their buses and clean their passengers’ hands.

“Many people will not be able to afford to go to the hospital. And if you can’t seek medical attention, you will die. We are taking every measure seriously,” said one driver.

According to the United Nations, the African continent is seeing an 'extremely rapid evolution' of the coronavirus pandemic. [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
According to the United Nations, the African continent is seeing an ‘extremely rapid evolution’ of the coronavirus pandemic. JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA
The smaller matatus, which are modified minivans, can carry up to 20 passengers. [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
The smaller matatus, which are modified minivans, can carry up to 20 passengers. JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA
Passengers wait for the matatu to fill up and leave. Kenyan officials have said that matatu occupancy can be no more than 60 percent, to help contain the coronavirus outbreak. [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
Passengers wait for the matatu to fill up and leave. Kenyan officials have said that matatu occupancy can be no more than 60 percent, to help contain the coronavirus outbreak. JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA
A matatu passenger wears a bandana in an attempt to protect him from the coronavirus. [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
A matatu passenger wears a bandana in an attempt to protect him from the coronavirus. JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA
With news headlines like 'Massive job losses as corona hits economy', the outbreak has captured the attention of people in Kenya. [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
With news headlines like ‘Massive job losses as corona hits economy’, the outbreak has captured the attention of people in Kenya. JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA
Before people can enter the matatus, their hands are disinfected by matatu touts like Lucky John, left. 'This is an advanced hand-sanitiser,' he says. 'Many people will not be able to afford to go to the hospital. And if you can't seek medical attention, you will die. So no one here needs to get that coronavirus, we take our own precautions. We don't want to die, everybody here loves their life. So we are taking every step, every measure seriously.' [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
Before people can enter the matatus, their hands are disinfected by matatu touts like Lucky John, left. ‘This is an advanced hand-sanitiser,’ he says. ‘Many people will not be able to afford to go to the hospital. And if you can’t seek medical attention, you will die. So no one here needs to get that coronavirus, we take our own precautions. We don’t want to die, everybody here loves their life. So we are taking every step, every measure seriously.’ JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA
Lucky John greets a friend with a 'foot bump'. 'We now greet like this, with our feet and our elbow. Sometimes even with our hips!' said Lucky. President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement that 'social distancing is now our new norm, it is our new way of life.' [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
Lucky John greets a friend with a ‘foot bump’. ‘We now greet like this, with our feet and our elbow. Sometimes even with our hips!’ said Lucky. President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement that ‘social distancing is now our new norm, it is our new way of life.’ JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA
There are fears that Kenya's informal public buses that transport millions of Kenyans on a daily basis could be a weak link in the fight against the coronavirus. [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
There are fears that Kenya’s informal public buses that transport millions of Kenyans on a daily basis could be a weak link in the fight against the coronavirus. JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA
Passengers wash their hands at a water tap at Nairobi's Westlands Matatu Terminal. [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
Passengers wash their hands at a water tap at Nairobi’s Westlands Matatu Terminal. JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA
The owner of a roadside restaurant at Westlands Terminal offers a disinfectant towel upon entry. [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
The owner of a roadside restaurant at Westlands Terminal offers a disinfectant towel upon entry. JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA
Close to the bus station, an Uber driver in Nairobi relaxes in between rides, wearing protective gloves. [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
Close to the bus station, an Uber driver in Nairobi relaxes in between rides, wearing protective gloves. JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA
Matatu driver Nicholas Peter wears a face mask behind the wheel. [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
Matatu driver Nicholas Peter wears a face mask behind the wheel. JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA
Edward, who works as a matatu tout, cleans the seats of the bus when there are no passengers in between shifts. 'We are cleaning the bus multiple times a day,' he says. 'We disinfect the seats and the metal bar that people hold when we are on the road.' [Joost Bastmeijer/Al Jazeera]
Edward, who works as a matatu tout, cleans the seats of the bus when there are no passengers in between shifts. ‘We are cleaning the bus multiple times a day,’ he says. ‘We disinfect the seats and the metal bar that people hold when we are on the road.’ JOOST BASTMEIJER/AL JAZEERA

US coronavirus cases surge, most in world: Live updates

US reports more than 82,400 COVID-19 cases as Italy’s death toll surges past 8,000.by Kate Mayberry & Usaid Siddiqui26 Mar 2020 22:28 GMT

The United States now has more coroanvirus cases than any other country with over 82,400, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

There were more than 81,700 known cases in China and 80,500 in Italy. 

Over 120,000 people worldwide have recovered from COVID-19, while more than 23,000 people have died.

Italy reported the highest death toll with more than 8,200 deaths. 

The Nile River dispute: Egypt and Sudan pestering South Sudan?

0
Since South Sudan’s secession from Sudan in 2011, diplomatic relations between Juba and Khartoum became vague, and equally so was the case with Egypt....

Al-Shabaab ransacks village in Kenya as Governor calls for help

0
MANDERA, Kenya - A few days after Mandera Governor Ali Roba called for government actions in the region following increasing cases of the...

More articles

Latest article

The Nile River dispute: Egypt and Sudan pestering South Sudan?

Since South Sudan’s secession from Sudan in 2011, diplomatic relations between Juba and Khartoum became vague, and equally so was the case with Egypt....

Al-Shabaab ransacks village in Kenya as Governor calls for help

MANDERA, Kenya - A few days after Mandera Governor Ali Roba called for government actions in the region following increasing cases of the...

Museveni Declared Winner in Uganda; Military Blocks Opposition Candidate’s Home

KAMPALA, UGANDA - Uganda’s electoral commission on Saturday declared President Yoweri Museveni the winner of the 2021 general elections. Meanwhile, Ugandan military...

Chan 2021: Fufa, Umbro launches Uganda’s new kit ahead of Rwanda opener

The manufacturer has stated the design was inspired by the dynamic spirit of the Cranes and reflection of their passionate football culture.