Africa: Kenya Airways staff involved in China Southern Airlines’ video suspended as court halts airline operation

Kenya foreign Uhuru

A Kenya Airways employee has been suspended for filming the arrival of a plane from China at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the capital, Nairobi.

This is just as a court in Kenya has ruled in favour of the suspension of all flights from China (CN) to Kenya (KE) saying that all 239 passengers that came with the flight be quarantine.

The Kenyan High Court ordered flights from China to be suspended for 10 days.

The video which was widely circulated across Kenya sparked outrage over the government’s refusal to halt direct flights from China in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

It was the first flight from China to arrive after a two-week ban imposed because of the outbreak.

Despite the suspension of the staff, Kenyans have been full of praise and commendation for Gire Ali for his brave act.

According to a statement signed by Kenya Airways Chief Human Resources Officer, Evelyn Munyoki, the staff remains suspended from duty while investigation into the video circulation has commenced.

The statement reads: “Following a report of video recording of China Southern Airlines at JKIA and circulation of the video clip widely on social media on 26th of February 2020, and your involvement in the matter, it has been decided that you be suspended from duty with effect from 27th February 2020 in accordance with provisions of clause 16.5 of the company HR policy Manual. This is to pave way for further investigations into the matter.

“During the period of suspension, you will be required to avail yourself to the investigation team, your manager or any other person in authority as and when required. You are therefore required to remain contactable and within easy reach during the period. Also, note that the suspension period will be on full salary” it said.

In a related development Kneya’s Health ministry has downplayed concerns over Kenya’s preparedness for coronavirus which has attacked 81,109 people, killing 2,762 in some 38 countries according to February 26 data.

According to businessdailyafrica.com, the ministry, buoyed by the February 13 World Health Organisation’s endorsement of its preparedness measures and internal ability to test for the virus, shrugged off calls to shut its borders and airports.

“We have an elaborate national contingency plan and an emergency operation centre that is monitoring outbreak across the world in a 24-hour basis,” the ministry said yesterday in a statement read by deputy director of medical services Patrick Amoth.

There is mandatory screening at all points of entry and up to 320,123 travellers have been examined since January 20. The 17 alerts handled so far have proved negative but we have trained 615 private and public healthcare workers and increased numbers at JKIA just in case,” said the ministry.

It said that besides fixing its ability to test for coronavirus locally, it has also set up isolation facilities at every entry point as well as at Mbagathi and Kenyatta National hospitals.

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