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Tough laws for private car owners in efforts to curb Covid-19

Private car owners are among the biggest victims of new laws gazetted on Thursday evening to curb the spread of the coronavirus, as Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe tightens the noose on Kenya’s chaotic transport sector, days after he announced radical changes in the passenger service sector.

In the new laws, which are subject to parliamentary approval, owners of private cars will not be allowed to carry more than 50 per cent of the declared passenger capacity of their vehicles.

This means owners of five-seater vehicles, which form the majority of cars on Kenyan roads, will only be allowed to carry one passenger as two would take the seat occupancy to three, including the driver, or 60 per cent of total capacity.

Owners of seven-seater vehicles will be allowed to carry a maximum of two passengers, excluding the driver, while those who drive eight-seaters will not be allowed to carry more than three passengers.

Both the driver and the passengers must wear masks at all times, the laws instruct.

And those who flout these rules will pay fines of up to Sh20,000 or face imprisonment of up to six months or both. The face mask, the laws add, must cover both the nose and mouth.