By Mourice Seretta
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday issued stringent new Covid-19 containment measures aimed at curbing the novel Coronavirus whose new cases have been on a steady rise in the recent past.
Addressing the nation from state house Nairobi, the head of state ordered cessation of movement by road, rail or air in Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru until further notice. Effective midnight today
Kenyatta also ordered that all International flights will be allowed into the country but within strict COVID-19 protocols.
“Fully conscious that 70% of Kenya’s COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru, these counties are individually and collectively declared a disease infected area. There shall be a cessation of all movement by road, rail or air into and out of the disease infected area comprising of the counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru effective midnight tonight until otherwise notified,” said the Head of State.
The president further ordered and directed that all Parliamentary sessions be suspended in both the National Assembly and Senate as well as all the 47 County Assemblies.
President Kenyatta also reviewed the dusk to dawn curfew times in Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru. The curfew in the said counties will begin at 8pm to 4am till further notice.
President Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Interior to review the current protocols for reissuance of curfew passes and exemptions.
“In light of the abuse of curfew passes and exemptions and its role in the steep increase in infections, The Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government jointly with the Ministry of Health are directed to immediately review the protocols for reissuance of curfew passes and exemptions. In that regard, in the intervening period all passes issued are hereby vacated,” he said.
The head of state also directed that all congregational worship in the five counties will remain suspended until further notice.
He also directed all learning institutions to close shop immediately until directed otherwise except for those sitting exams.
Sporting activities across the country will also remain suspended.
In a directive that will affect the Tourism and Hotel Industry, the President directed that bars to remain closed and hotels to offer strictly take away services in all the five listed counties. The rest of the 42 counties will continue with previous issued directives but that will change if any hotel went against the directives.
He also directed that burials be conducted 72 hours after death with strictly 50 attendees and that only 30 persons for all manner of celebrations like weddings.
Uhuru said Kenya’s Covid positivity rate has jumped tenfold from 2.6% in January to 22% in March.
This means that if you test 100 people, 20 will test positive. Worse in Nairobi, where six out of ten test positive.
“Nairobi County accounts for nearly 60% of all recorded cases. This means that out of 5 people, 3 are more likely to positive for COVID-19 disease,” he said.
President Kenyatta said he understand the economic impact the new directives will have on the country but added that it will be safer to have them in place in the fight against the deadly virus that has been ravaging the country as it experiencing a third wave of the same.
He also asked all Kenyans above the age of fifty years to be given first priority during this period as they are prone to be infected with the disease faster and easier than those below those below fifty years.
He directed the law enforcement officers to ensure that Kenyans follow the laid down protocols and bring to book those that will be found defying the protocols.