NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 26 – Kenya imposed a lockdown in the capital Nairobi and four other counties Friday in measures to contain the rising infections of COVID-19.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said the counties of Nairobi, Machakos, Kiambu, Kajiado and Nakuru are COVID-19 infected regions which require tough restrictions after the third wave swept the country with unprecedented infections and deaths since February.
“That fully conscious that 70% of Kenya’s reported cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the Counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru, those Counties are individually and collectively declared a disease infected area,” Kenyatta declared.
Effectively, he said, “there shall be a cessation of movement into and out of the five counties effective Saturday until further notice.”
In a national address, Kenyatta ordered “that there shall be cessation of all movement by road, rail, or air into and out of the disease infected area… effective midnight tonight” in Nairobi and four other counties where cases are rising fast.
Citing statistics from the Ministry of Health, Kenyatta said “if you test 100 Kenyans today, 20 will be positive compared to January this year when only 2 would have been positive.”
“This tells us that the rate of infection has gone up 10 times between January and March 2021,” he said.
Worse still, he said, out of every 10 positive cases countrywide, 6 are from Nairobi.
“In other words, if we took random samples of five people in Nairobi and tested them for COVID, three are likely to be positive,” he said, “this unfortunate turn of events calls for urgent and drastic measures.”
Kenya had recorded 2,066 fatalities and 126,170 infections by Thursday.
And he ordered bars to remain closed in the affected counties with restaurants only allowed to have take-aways.
He said the action was prompted by the rise in coronavirus infections which had shot up ten times higher in the past one month.
Further, Kenyatta revised the dusk to dawn curfew hours in the five counties which will now start at 8pm to 4 am.
“That the hours of the ongoing nationwide curfew are revised to commence at 8:00pm and end at 4:00am in the zoned area comprising of the Counties of Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu and Nakuru. In that regard, the rest of the country will observe curfew between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. daily, effective tomorrow, Saturday, 27 the day of March, 2021,” Kenyatta directed.
In an elaborate address, President Kenyatta further directed security agencies across the country to enforce COVID-19 protocols without fear or favor, following a spike in cases of deaths and infections.
The President revoked all curfew passes and exemption passes while directing the Interior and Health Ministries to issue others, after fresh vetting, to avert misuse.
The President pointed out that the measures though inconveniencing, are necessary in a bid to contain the infection rate that currently stands at more than 20 percent with at least 7 deaths being recorded daily.
With the country experiencing a third and more lethal wave of infections, Kenyatta said the curve is expected to flatten by Mid-May.
“The measures are temporary and necessary to contain the spread of disease and therefore to stop further loss of life. I am personally convinced that the cost of not acting now would be far much greater,” the Head of State said.