The rise in new COVID-19 cases has led the Kenyan government to impose a new lockdown measure.
This has also made President Uhuru Kenyatta announce a ban on all inland travel in the capital Nairobi and out four other counties. He made this known on Friday in the wake of the country’s positivity rate rising from 2% to 22% between January and March, with Nairobi accounting for nearly 60% of the cases.
Kenyatta further noted that hospital admissions had increased by 52% in the past two weeks, adding that at least seven people are dying every day from coronavirus.
These new measures, therefore, mean that no road, rail or air transport will be permitted in Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Machakos and Nakuru.
Furthermore, physical meetings are now banned.
As regards curfew, hours now start at 20:00 until 04:00 am (instead of 22:00 until 04:00 am`) in the five counties. Special passes that allowed people to travel during curfew hours have also been cancelled.
Alcohol sales in the areas have also been banned and restaurants can now only provide takeaway services.
The president also ordered “an immediate suspension of all face-to-face teaching, which includes universities”, with the exception of students currently taking exams.
Kenya reopened its schools and colleges in early January, which had been closed for ten months.
Although international travel is permitted, a negative coronavirus test has become an essential requirement.
Implementation of the new measures begins on Friday at midnight.
This week, Kenya recorded between 1,000 and 1,500 cases per day.
“According to our health experts, our third wave started to gain strength in early March,” said Kenyatta.
The peak of this wave is expected in the next 30 days, with more than 2,500 to 3,000 cases per day,” he added.
Aware of the impact these decisions will have on the economy, Kenyatta added that these “measures are temporary and necessary to contain the spread of the disease and therefore to stop further loss of life.”
“I am convinced that the cost of inaction would be much worse,” he said.