NAIROBI, April 5 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government on Sunday extended the ban on international flights for 30 more days effective Monday to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country.
James Macharia, cabinet secretary for ministry of transport, said that the suspension will not affect cargo flights and evacuation flights.
"This suspension will however not apply to those flights that are coming in to evacuate foreign nationals from the country. It also exempts the cargo flights that are coming into the country to deliver goods. They must not have passengers on board," Macharia told journalists in Nairobi.
"Those evacuating their citizens will have to give us a 72-hour notice," Macharia added after the ministry of health confirmed 16 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of those infected so far to 142.
Macharia appealed to those in the transport industry to adhere to the directives issued by the ministry of health, with regard to maintaining hygiene standards in the transport sector.
"We have observed that the set directives are not being strictly followed, for example, most matatus (minibusses) are still overloading, hence not observing social distancing. They are also not observing standards of hygiene as per the set guidelines," said Macharia.
He warned that any minibusses commonly known as matatus found not observing the set directives, will have their Sacco licenses suspended.
"This directive applies to all public transport vehicles. The offenders will also be charged in a court of law, in line with the Public Health Act, for deliberately spreading the virus," he added.
The official said motorcycle taxi riders, who continue to flout the directives already issued, will have their motorcycles impounded and will face the law.
The government has also directed that visits to prisons shall remain suspended for another 30 days.