To say Covid-19 has disrupted travel is an understatement; with the virus primarily spread by movement and contact, cessation of global movements has resulted in many airlines and hotels shutting down, oil prices falling to negative and people being confined to their home areas. In Kenya this was no different, the government started with locking down international borders and select inter-county borders. For many, these restrictions though necessary were unusual and instances of cabin fever spiked. Coupled with separations of families, economic challenges and work related demands the lifting of the travel restrictions came with caveats for individuals, destinations and travel companies had to adhere to.
Given the virus is human borne, with the lifting of the travel restrictions, personal responsibility of by all stakeholders and government has issued advice for the various parties to follow.
For individuals, the basic Covid-19 protocols are in place. Individuals are asked ensure they clean their hands where possible, wear masks, cough or sneeze on their elbows and adhere to social distancing rules. Further before travelling, individuals are asked to go through key thought processes
These questions and more now inform our decisions to travel as each interaction increases our chances of getting infected or infecting others.
For the transport companies, protecting passengers and limiting the spread of the virus remains key. Airline and train services in Kenya have set up detailed measures including social distancing during check in and seating, temperature checks among others. Dissecting measures in place by Kenya Airways, the airline as part of its Covid-19 countermeasures has implemented the following: -
For many Kenyans however road transport remains as primary travel mode and challenges herein remain high. With local and long distance travel happening simultaneously, infection touch-points are many given the scale of public transport in Kenya. Millions of people are travelling long and short distances daily in buses, matatus and boda bodas and most of the operators either cannot afford and or are not adhering to the set guidelines. This coupled with ignoring and or flaunting of guidelines by some operators presents heightened risk for the general public especially where they delegate the self-care responsibilities to the service providers.
With the above threats, the onus remains on individuals to protect themselves and demand others including transport companies to adhere to the set guidelines.