President Uhuru Kenyatta has declared Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties Covid-19 hotspots and banned movement and in out of them for the next 21 days.
In his address to the nation on Monday evening, the President said that Nairobi accounted for 82 per cent of the total infections while the Coastal counties account for 14 per cent hence the order.
"To contain and limit the spread of the disease to other parts of the country, the National Security Council has sanctioned and caused the issuance of the following additional measures, as follows: That there shall be a cessation of all movement by road, rail or air in and out," President Uhuru announced.
He said that travel restrictions in and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan area will begin today (Monday) at 7pm while in Mombasa, Kilifi, and Kwale counties the directive will take effect on Wednesday evening.
The Head of State said that the movement along the coastal strip, in affected counties should be limited for now before the directive takes effect on April 8.
The President was categorical that motor vehicles, scooters, bicycles, and motorbikes were not allowed to move in and out of the four counties.
He, however, said that vehicles ferrying foodstuffs or other essential products like medical equipment and drugs would be exempted from the restrictions.
He said that vehicles ferrying food products are only allowed to have one driver and ‘such designated persons must be notified by writing.’
He defined the boundaries of the Nairobi Metropolitan area as Nairobi Couty, parts of Kiambu County stretching over to Chania River Bridge (Thika) including Ndenderu, Rironi and part of Kiambu Town, parts of Machakos County including Katani; and parts of Kajiado County including Kitengela, Kiserian, Ongata Rongai and Ngong Town.
The president said countries were making decisions based on their individual circumstances.
"Governments all over the world, including our own, are taking unprecedented steps to arrest the spread of this pandemic and to flatten the curve. Different measures are being taken across the globe depending on every country’s unique circumstances,” he stated.
And added: “But what is clear from their experience is that the pandemic is likely to continue spreading with lethal effect without drastic action.”
He termed the new measures as hard but necessary choices that unless taken, could result in loss of lives and economic devastation.
“It can lead to unprecedented pressure on our medical facilities which may lead to unprecedented loss of lives,” he said.
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“There is a choice that we are asked to make as a government or as a people.”
As a way of ensuring that the social distancing rule and other personal preventions are observed, he urged people to wear face masks any time when in public.
“We must endeavour to wear masks when we are amongst our people…wash hands for at least 20 seconds,” he said.
Uhuru urged the Nairobi Metropolitan Services to ensure the availability of water, especially in slum areas to boost hygiene. He also encouraged farmers to continue with their work to ensure that there is enough food in the country.
He said “I encourage our traders and farmers in fresh produce to continue with their agricultural activities, so as to ensure the continued supply of the farm produce to our markets."
“No one should be denied the ability to carry on with their legal trade within the boundaries of the protocols set out by the Ministry of Health.”
The national Covid-19 pandemic cases stand at 158 y after 16 more people tested positive for the virus. Four more people recovered and two more died. This means that the number of people who have died of Covid-19 is six. The President said that the Ministry of Health tested 4,277 people on Monday.