Kenya extends nationwide daily curfew by 21 days

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta during a past address to the nation. COURTESY: PSCU

The Kenyan government on Saturday extended the nationwide daily curfew for an additional 21 days as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

President Uhuru Kenyatta made the announcement during a live address to the nation from State House. Additionally, four regions, including the capital Nairobi, had their existing containment periods extended by 21 days.

“In accordance to the advice given to me by the National Emergency Response Committee on the Coronavirus pandemic, the National Security Council has sanctioned the following additional measures to protect lives and to protect our country. That the cessation of movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area and the counties of Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa that are currently in force shall be extended for a further containment period of 21 days. That the nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew that is currently in force shall also be extended for a further period of 21 days,” President Kenyatta said.

On March 27, a daily nationwide curfew from 7pm to 5am in an attempt to halt the virus’ spread came into effect two days after President Kenyatta announced it. On April 6, the government enforced an order on the cessation of movement by road, rail and air into and out of the four regions.

Additionally, the president said security agencies will upgrade their response measures in every border area to counter the threat of porous borders compromising the nation’s COVID-19 response. The president also said that four counties (Mandera, Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa) face imposition of more stringent measures should they continue to register more increases in infections.

At the same time, the president announced the confirmation of seven new COVID-19 cases bringing the country’s total to 343. An additional four people have recovered from the virus raising the total recoveries to 98 so far. The number of fatalities still stands at 14.

President Kenyatta also said that about 17,492 people had been tested and the government was proceeding with mass targeted testing which will guide the policies that the government will seek to implement in the present and future.

“I believe that we are now in the middle of a war being fought in every street, in every homestead, (and) every building across our country. The key, for all of us, to return to normal is keeping our infection rates falling and raising our testing rates.”

President Kenyatta also pledged to continue rolling out initiatives that offer will relief to Kenyans, particularly, the youth and families in distress.

The president announced that the government will allow a selective reopening of food establishments under strict regulations. Kenya’s hospitality sector has been hard hit by the spread of the virus leading to many businesses closing and job losses.

“We shall allow restaurants and eateries in selected counties that show the highest levels of health regulation compliance and the ability to arrange for employee testing to undertake minimal operations while maintaining measures that mitigate against the spread of coronavirus.”

However, the president added, if these establishments do not follow the procedures, they face instant closure and prosecution.

President Kenyatta concluded by expressing confidence that Kenya will overcome the challenges presented by the pandemic and emerge stronger.

“We will, and can, get to the end of this challenging period and we can overcome this pandemic. We will return to our workplaces, we will see our family and family members and friends again and we will return to the precious work of building our nation, not only for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children.

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