The National Government has revised the dusk-to-dawn curfew in thirteen counties in Western Kenya to contain the spread of Covid 19 virus after the highly contagious delta variant was detected in the region.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced the 10pm to 4am curfew in the counties in Nyanza, Western and Rift Valley counties will from Friday June 18th begin from 7pm to 4am.
The affected counties where a spike of Coronavirus infection was reported include Busia, Vihiga, Kisii, Nyamira, Kakamega, Bungoma, Kericho, Bomet, Trans Nzoia, Kisumu, Siaya, Homa-Bay and Migori.
Ministry of Health reports indicated that the positivity rate in the 13 regions averages 21 per cent, while that of the remaining parts of the country is at 9 per cent.
“The surge of infections in the aforementioned counties is further compounded by their proximity to the neighboring Uganda, which has similarly reported a surge of Covid-19 infections,” said Kagwe, adding that the decision has been made in consultation with the Council of Governors.
He said that the curfew will be effective June 18, 2021 together with other containment measures, insisting that except for essential and emergency services, movement between the Hotspot Zone and the rest of the country is “strongly discouraged.”
“All cross-border cargo drivers shall be required to possess a valid certificate, indicating a negative Covid -19 test that was conducted not more than 48 hours before commencing their journey, and each cargo truck shall be limited to only two persons per vehicle,” said Kagwe.
Kagwe also suspended the weekly non-food and livestock markets in the Hotspot Zone for a period of 30 days.
“All public gatherings and in-person meetings of whatever nature are prohibited within the Hotspot Zone, including house parties and sporting activities,” he said.
The CS added that all funerals and interment ceremonies within the Hotspot Zone shall be conducted within 72 hours of confirmation of death, adding that night vigils and overnight processions prior to funerals are prohibited within the Hotspot Zone until further notice.
Kagwe said that the attendees for funerals within the Hotspot Zone are capped to a maximum of 50 persons until further notice.
“The attendees, officiators, and facilitators of weddings celebrations of marriage or traditional unions, ceremonies of rites of passage, and all other similar events or ceremonies is maintained at 30 persons in total until further notice,” said Kagwe.
He also suspended all forms of physical and congressional worship in churches, mosques, temples and shrines in the hotspot counties for a period of 30 days.
The CS directed all hospitals within the Hotspot Zone to limit the number of visitors for hospitalized patients to one visitor per patient per time until further notice.
Kagwe explained that the hours of the ongoing nationwide curfew shall continue to be observed in the rest of the country, from 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. daily.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a and Victor Obure