NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7 – President Uhuru Kenyatta Tuesday said the government could impose a nationwide lockdown if the current coronavirus situation worsens.
The Head of State urged Kenyans to adhere to guidelines set by the Ministry of Health, key among them social distancing and a 21-day cessation of travel in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale which are the most hit counties.
Speaking to Kikuyu-broadcasting radio stations a day after the government announced an increase in the number of coronavirus cases to 158, the President said adherence to guidelines by the health ministry will ensure Kenya’s wins the war agaist the global pandemic which has claimed over 74,000 lives worldwide.
“A lockdown is one of the options if our people don’t follow the directives issued by the Ministry of Health,” the President said.
“My appeal to our people, let’s not allow the situation to get there. We have done everything so that you can still earn your living within the available time given by the government,” President Kenyatta added while referring to a national lockdown.
He said the current pandemic is not unique to the country saying powerful economies in the western world were also contending with harsh conditions.
“If countries like the United States are overwhelmed, what would happen to our country, if our hospitals get overwhelmed?” he asked.
He said the country’s main weapon is observing the precautionary measures recommended by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Doing what Mutahi Kagwe (Health Cabinet Secretary) is saying is our best way out of this. The disease is real,” he said.
To curb the spread of COVID-19 among security officers currently enforcing a nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew, President Kenyatta said the government is considering setting up facilities where they can retreat after work.
“I want to promise those providing such services will that as a government we shall take care of them,” the President said.
If security officers and other government officials offering services to Kenyans get infected, he said the government will foot the bills.
“Let them not fear, we stand with them,” he said.
Six people have since died from coronavirus in Kenya.
Already the number of infections globally is beyond a million mark, with the United States registering more than 350,000 cases.