Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday announced an extension to the nationwide dusk-dawn curfew for a further 30 days in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The extension comes despite progress being made in reducing COVID-19 infections President Kenyatta noted that infections in the country are now at a manageable level and the country had a chance to reach the 5 percent positivity rate recommended by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) for total re-opening.
“We note the good progress we have made so far in fighting this enemy, but, this positive news is no license for us to drop guard and backslide from our path of responsibility,” he said.
President Kenyatta also announced a raft of other measures during his televised address.
Bars and nightclubs will remain closed for an additional 30 days. However, the ban on the sale of alcohol by licensed hotels with residence was lifted.
“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,” Kenyatta said.
The president also announced a lifting of a ban on the sale of secondhand clothes adding that details of how that will proceed and the protocols for the same will be announced by the government on Thursday.
While a ban on mass gatherings remains in place, the number of people attending funerals and weddings was increased from 15 to 100 subject to observance of health protocols by the Ministry of Health.
The president did note that a couple of challenges remained: the spread of the virus to the rest of the counties and rural areas and the slow pace of expansion of the health sector architecture.
To that effect, the president ordered the constitution of a National Reference Group on COVID-19, to review the efficacy of the government’s response and record lessons Learnt and feed them back into the sector nationally and in counties.
The Group was also tasked with formulating strategies to identify institutional weaknesses within the healthcare system at both national and county levels.
A National Consultative Conference is expected to be convened in 21 days to review the country’s national and county COVID-19 response and chart the post-COVID-19 future.
Kenya has so far recorded 33,016 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 564 deaths and 19,296 recoveries.