Uhuru: Obey all State orders or risk lockdown

President Uhuru Kenyatta gestures during a past meeting. He has asked Kenyans to observe State measures to combat Covid-19 .[PSCU]

Kenyans must follow strict orders mooted by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus if they want to avoid a total lockdown, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

Speaking yesterday during interviews in three Gikuyu language radio stations, the president urged Kenyans to adhere to protocols set by the Ministry of Health in order to stem out coronavirus.

Uhuru described the virus as formidable, capable of destroying world economies, but insisted that the most important thing right now was saving human lives. 

“We know how we can revive the economy after this crisis but no one knows how to revive a lost life,” he said.

He also urged Kenyans to comply with quarantine measures put in place, saying though painful, the measures will save lives.

“We do not wish to reach a point where we will have to institute more severe measures,” the president added.

While commenting on chaos witnessed yesterday on major highways as motorists tried to leave Nairobi, he noted that police should allow those with compelling reasons to leave or enter Nairobi.

“We ask those who have, for example, medical appointments that can’t be postponed to provide documentary evidence to police so that they can be allowed to enter or leave Nairobi,’’ Uhuru said.

“I am also urging our police officers to welcome those who come to explain their reasons for breaking the partial lockdown and listen to them.”

The president, who spoke on a wide range of measures taken by the government to ensure that Kenyans continue with their lives, said a total lockdown was the last option on the table.

He noted that if all Kenyans follow the guidelines put in place so far, then the country will not need to go that route.

“We understand our people better. We know that a majority of Kenyans depend on daily economic activities to earn their livelihoods therefore, we don’t need to lock down the country as long as we can strictly adhere to the measures already in place,” he said. 

He also explained that the decision to restrict Kenyans from moving to rural counties was made ahead of the Easter holiday in order to protect those living there, especially the elderly, from catching the virus from their visiting relatives.

“We know that a majority of our old people live in rural areas and according to studies, this disease affects the old more than it affects youth,” the president explained.

He also revealed that the government has rolled out plans to ensure that enough protective gear and medical provisions are sourced.

Uhuru ruled out the resumption of church services. He said the decision has weighed heavily on him, especially the fact that he could not even attend retired Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a’Nzeki’s funeral service.

“I want to urge all Kenyans to pray in their homes and to follow church sermons on television and through online platforms until this pandemic ends,” the president averred.

He noted that the last few days when the virus was rapidly spreading across the globe, Kenya’s airspace remained opened and that was the time those in the diaspora should have come back home. “Somehow the disease was able to get into the country and we now have to deal with the situation,” said Uhuru.

He also urged all Kenyans to take the disease seriously, saying it was not discriminating between the poor and the rich. He cited the infection of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was taken to the Intensive Care Unit on Monday.

The president commended property owners who have come out to support the Covid-19 fight by waiving or reducing rent.  

Uhuru also said he wished Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi gets a long jail term for endangering Kenyans by failing to self quarantine after a visit to Germany, just as the virus was starting to have an impact in the country.