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A total of 121 patients were in the Intensive Care Unit including 32 who were on ventilatory support and 86 who were supplemental oxygen/FILE

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Uhuru orders State officers above 58 years to stay home

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 5 – State and Public Officers aged above 58 years in Kenya and those with compromised immunity have been directed to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said only public servants in critical sectors will be allowed to be physically in office.

“To protect government staffers drawn from vulnerable groups,  I direct that all state and public officers aged above 58 years and those with compromised immunity to work remotely, this with the exemption of those serving in critical sectors,” said the President when he reviewed COVID-19 measures imposed in August.

He directed Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries to scale down in-person engagements and conduct their meetings virtually. 

The President also suspended all political gatherings and rallies for 60 days and urged those planning to hold meetings to do so in town halls and observe Health Ministry Protocols on COVID-19.  

He admitted that political leaders, including himself, have been on the forefront in flouting COVID- 19 containment measures in what is blamed for the increased infections. 

“Anyone wishing to hold such meetings should do so in town halls and must observe all COVID protocols, including limiting the attendees to the one-third seating capacity of the hall,” Kenyatta directed.

The President said the decision was taken due to increased infections and deaths which had gone up since August when some of the tough restrictions were lifted.

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Kenya lost 1,051 people to the virus in October which the president described as the dark month, as the country registered a surge in infections that forced him to review containment measures Wednesday.

The Head of State said 38 days after he re-opened the country by lifting tough restrictions, the virus positivity rate shot up from 4 percent to 16 percent.

“This is 4 times what the rate was in September.  If one person was positive in September, four people became positive in October. That is the literal interpretation of this statistic.In October only, we have had over 15,000 new cases of Corona infections and approximately 300 deaths according to the National Multi-Agency Command Centre on COVID- 19,” Kenyatta said.

“In fact, October has been recorded as the most tragic month in our fight against COVID.”

With the daily rising cases in the second wave of the virus, bed occupancy in hospitals rose to 140 percent from a 60 percent decline in September.

In efforts to combat the rising cases, President Kenyatta reviewed COVID-19 measures, including reducing curfew hours to start at 10pm.

President Kenyatta said the decision was taken due to increased infections and deaths which had gone up since August when some of the tough restrictions were lifted.

He also suspended political gatherings for 60 days and ordered bars to be closed by 9pm and ordered civil servants aged above 58 years and anyone with compromised immunity to work from home.

“We must take these measures seriously,” he said after chairing a meeting of the National Emergency Response Committee (NERC) at State House, Nairobi.

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President Kenyatta directed all government meetings to be held virtually so as to protect public servants and members of the public visiting their offices.

Schools that were closed in March will now re-open in January 2021 but Form Four, Class Eight and Grade 4 Examinations will proceed. Learners for these classes resumed learning in October.

By Nov 4, Kenya had recorded 58, 587 coronavirus cases with 38,381 recoveries and 1051 deaths.

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