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President Kenyatta when he addressed the nation from State House, Nairobi on August 26, 2020. /pscu.


Uhuru keen to re-open Kenya, calls for national conference

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26- President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced a 7-plan agenda, for adoption by the government in preparation for opening up the country, possibly later next month.

Judging from the tone of his Wednesday statement when he addressed the nation from State House, Nairobi, the Head of State is keen to have the country fully back to normal. Afterall the COVID-19 curve is fast flattening.

The country has been recording less than 300 cases daily since last week, significantly lower than earlier days when cases topped nearly 1000 daily on average.

“This is very encouraging and it means if we keep our civic responsibility high, we have a chance to reach the 5 per cent positivity rate recommended by the World Health Organisation for a total reopening our economy and country,” the President said in a televised address from State House, Nairobi.

He also announced 213 new infections raising the country’s caseload to 33,016 and 564 fatalities.

The latest statistics from the Ministry of Health show that the rate of infection had dropped to 8 percent, from a high of 13 percent since March when the first case was reported in the country.

For a country to re-open, the World Health Organisations recommends that the infection rate should be at least 5 percent.

Key on the president’s directives is to Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi to convene a stakeholders’ meeting in three weeks, jointly with the Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya to audit the response to the virus so far.

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“After this, we are looking at the future…on how the country’s economy shall recover,” the President said, “this meeting will shape the country’s post-COVID-19 plan, as the country gears towards reviving the economy.”

The President also expetended the closure of bars and night clubs directed bars and night clubs to continue being closed for a further 30 days.

The President however lifted the ban on licensed hotels with residence, paving way for them to start selling alcoholic drinks.

“In the next 30 days, bar owners, in consultation with the Ministry of Health will develop self-regulating mechanisms as part of their civic responsibility to their clientele, in order to allow their resumption,” the President said.

Further, the President extended the night curfew and closure of bars to a further three weeks, but extended the closing hours of restaurants and eateries by one hour from 7pm.

And as part of measures to prepare for re-opening, the Head of State directed the Sports Ministry to work closely with the Health ministry to come up with new guidelines on resumption of sports events that remain suspended.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government had restricted the numbers of mourners at funerals to just 15 but President Kenyatta has reviewed it to 100 subject to the virus protocols on social distancing and face masks.

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