The government has imposed radical measures to contain further spread of Covid 19, after infection rates in the country shot up more than ten times in a span of three months.
Consequently President Uhuru Kenyatta in his address to the nation at State House Nairobi ordered cessation of all movement by road, rail, or air in four counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru where at least 70% of the fresh infection were reported since January.
“Fully conscious that 70% of Kenya’s reported cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the Counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru, those Counties are individually and collectively declared a disease infected area” He said.
The curfew hours in the affected counties were also reviewed to commence at 8:00pm and end at 4:00am in the pandemic Zoned Areas while the rest of the country will continue with the 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m restriction.
He said the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in January 2021 stood at 4,380 but in span of three month the figure shot up to 15,916 during the third wave of the pandemic that Health experts expected to peak in 30 days with a devastating rates of deaths
“What is even more worrying is the rising death rate from COVID. Between January and February 2021, three (3) people died every day from COVID; in March 2021, the number has gone up to seven (7) every day, the highest since this pandemic hit us. 7. Equally worrisome is how this COVID crisis has TESTED our health system.” He said
The Head of state informed the nation that the country experienced steep and sustained rise in the number of COVID related admission as infection figures shot up to levels never witnessed since the pandemic was reported last year.
President Uhuru regretted that in 13 days only the Covid 19 admission rate had increased by 52% while the positivity rate that was at 2.6% had settled at 22% as at a clear indication that infection had gone up ten times.
‘What this means is that, if you test 100 Kenyans for COVID today, 20 will be positive; compared to January this Year, when only 2 would have been positive. This tells us that our rate of infection has gone up 10 times between January and March 2021.” He said.
The Head of State said the worrying scenario compelled him to review his 12th March directive to avert a looming national health crisis and upon the advice of the National Security Council, the Council of Governors, and also in keeping with the recommendations of the National Emergency Response Committee on COVID-19.
He said the directives which take effect by Midnight will ensure that all public gatherings ,meetings of whatever nature are suspended within the Counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru until further notice.
Also affected are meetings of Cabinet and its Committees, parliamentary sessions in both at the August House and county assemblies of the affected counties but with the exception of meetings of the National Security Council are suspended until further noti
President Uhuru said although international travels shall continue persons coming into the Country must present negative COVID-19 PCR Certificate, acquired no more than 96 hours prior to arrival into the Country; with the PCR Certificate also having been validated under the Trusted Travel platform for those travelling by air.
He directed the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government jointly with the Ministry of Health to immediately review the protocols for reissuance of curfew passes and exemptions but vacated those issued earlier for fresh vetting.
He also outlawed congregational worship in the five diseased counties but restricted attendance capacity in the remaining 42 counties to adhere to the two third rule guidelines of the Inter-Faith Council.
He also Ordered for the immediate suspension of all on-going physical learning in education institutions including universities and tertiary and vocational colleges but exempted candidates sitting for their examinations and those in medical training institutions, until otherwise notified
Sporting activities were also put on hold including those in membership clubs and also suspended Operations of bars affected Counties where the sale of alcohol in restaurants and eateries was prohibited, until further notice.
All restaurants and eateries in the Counties of Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu and Nakuru shall provide takeaway services only; 3. The operations of bars, restaurants and eateries in the other forty-two (42) Counties shall continue but in strict fidelity to Ministry of Health Guidelines
Public Transport Operators are to carry 60% capacity while hospitals to limit visitation to two per patient while funeral attendance not to have more than 50 mourners and that such ceremonies to be concluded strictly within 72 hours of confirmation of death
By Wangari Ndirangu