NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 7- President Uhuru Kenyatta’s new directives on containment measures have sparked mixed reactions from Kenyans.
While others welcomed them, others feel he could have lifted the night curfew order altogether.
President Kenyatta extended the night curfew to start at 9pm to 4am from Sunday and opened Eastleigh, Old Town area of Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale.
The restrictions in Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera however, remain in force for 30 more days.
“To be honest, the President was considerate because this is a matter concerning our own lives. I know we are suffering but it will not be for long that is why I welcome his directives and I am happy,” said Joyce Mutua, who was selling masks near the National Archives on Moi Avenue.
Mary Wangui, a hawker, said the president was considerate in his decision.
“I think schools can wait for as long as this virus is with us. We are not ready to risk the lives of our children so I really appreciate what the president saidm,” she said, “Also we do not have to go to church for God to hear our prayers, we can pray from home and He will answer us.”
In his address to the nation on Saturday, President Kenyatta said the ban on all forms of gatherings, including churches and political gatherings will remain outlawed as the governments seeks to engage stakeholders for a lasting solution.
James Wafula and Daniel Kariuki, residents of Nairobi, said the President should have lifted the cessation of Movement in Nairobi pointing out that traders in other counties will not be able to continue operating without coming to Nairobi.
“I really wish he lifted the movement ban at least I get to see my wife and children who have been away for the last three months now. It is really difficult for me to accept that I will go for another 30 days without them,” he said.
However, they all welcomed the extension of the curfew and its new timings from 9pm to 4am saying traders and people in the transport industry stand to benefit.
The Head of State confessed that the question of whether to open the economy or not, was not a matter of being right or wrong, but a dilemma of two rights.
He declared that he will only re-open the economy once infections of COVID-19 go down.
“Those who want me to open are right and those opposed to opening are also right. This clash of two rights placed us on the horns of a dilemma. If we had not taken the stringent measures we took in March, the rate of infections in Kenya would have peaked to 800,000 people by the end of July this year,” Kenyatta said.
With the number of positive cases now at 2600, Kenyatta said the current containment measures if relaxed by 20 percent, will rise to 200,000 with 30,000 deaths by December.
“If we were to go even further and relax them by 60 percent, the pandemic will peak in October with 450,000 infections with 45,000 deaths. Although, these projections are generated by a model, our experts have shown us hard evidence suggesting that countries that opened up their economies without proper models, experienced serious waves of infections,” Kenyatta added.
Bars will also remain closed for 30 days, with plans now underway to have schools reopened for third term in September.