NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 7 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has convened an Extra-Ordinary meeting comprising of the national and county government on Wednesday, to review the effectiveness of the coronavirus containment measures.
The Head of State announced during his eighth address to the nation on Saturday that the meeting to be attended by all the 47 Governors will seek to secure an assurance of their preparedness to handle the virus that has so affected 34 counties.
“While I consider the possibility of de-escalating the containment measures in place and conscious that Health is a shared function – between the National and County Governments, I have convened an Extra-Ordinary session of the National and County Government Co-ordinating,” he said.
He said the Governors will be tasked to affirm their preparedness in handling the virus whose infections rose to 2600 Saturday.
“Governors will be mandated to secure the undertaking of every County Government to deliver isolation facilities with at least 300 bed-capacity,” he stated.
In a report released by the Kenya Medical Association (KMA), the peak in health care utilization is expected to occur around February 2021 with up to 356,000 hospital beds and 115,000 ventilators required in that month alone.
Nairobi, Kiambu, Meru, Machakos, Nakuru and Kakamega are projected to consume up to 30 percent of the national resource requirements for the treatment of severe cases.
Consequently, the devolved units within 14 days would be required to develop time-bound protocols for the progressive re-opening of the economy.
“I have applied my mind to the different scenarios presented by our experts. And I have reconciled myself to the fact that to ‘open’ or not to ‘open’ up is not a dilemma between a right and a wrong. It is a dilemma between two rights,” he said.
He issued three irreducible minimums that would fully warrant the re-opening of the economy noting, starting with a downward trend in the infection rate.
“Health facilities must not be overwhelmed at any one point during the pandemic. Access to testing, isolation and quarantine must be a bare minimum,” he said.
It will also depend on the surveillance and contact tracing capacty which must be in place.
“The question we must ponder is whether we have met this threshold in order to lift the restrictions. Have the cases of infections taken a down turn, for instance? And the answer is no. Nairobi and Mombasa are taking the lead with new infections,” President Kenyatta said.
The president has extended the nationwide night curfew from 7 pm to 9pm to end at 4am from the current 5pm.
He however, said the cessation of movement in Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera counties will remain in place due to higher infection rates in those counties but opened up Eastleigh and Old Town region of Mombasa from Sunday.