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President’s plan to ease controls, reopen economy

By Graham Kajilwa | June 2nd 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

A man walks past a national flag on the Teleposta Towers, Nairobi, as the country celebrated the 57th Madaraka Day yesterday amid the coronavirus restrictions. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Some 59 more people have tested positive for coronavirus as President Uhuru Kenyatta issued directives to formulate protocols on how churches and schools will operate post-Covid-19.

During the 57th Madaraka Day celebrations held at State House, Nairobi, yesterday, President Kenyatta said he will also be issuing a statement later in the week on the current containment measures.

Containment measures 

The address is expected to touch on the dusk-to-dawn curfew and cessation of movement, which the President has alluded to several times saying they cannot continue forever.

“The containment measures and protocols issued by the government, while absolutely necessary, have constrained our freedoms and our way of life,” the president said.

The president yesterday directed Education and Interior cabinet secretaries to fast-track protocols on how schools and churches can resume their activities.

“I appreciate the anxiety weighing heavily on the minds of parents and children – particularly those preparing for the national examinations.

“I share the heavy hearts of all the faithful who can no longer congregate and share in worship of The Almighty,” he said.

The president directed the Ministry of Education to fast-track and finalise the ongoing consultations with stakeholders that will provide an appropriate calendar for gradual resumption of education in the country.

“The guidelines should also include protocols to be followed by all learning institutions to guarantee the safety of our children,” he said.

A report on how school activities should resume was given to Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha last week after a series of public participation.

For churches, the president directed Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to do the same with the religious sector.

Kenyatta said tourism sector has suffered some of the most severe shocks due to restricted movement, termination of international flights and introduction of social distancing protocols.

“To jump-start this important sector, and to protect its players from heavy financial losses, my administration will refocus our intervention by offering an initial Sh2 billion exchequer support to hotels and related establishments to ensure that they maintain their staff compliment,” he said, and added that Kenyans must do everything in their power to conquer this invisible enemy – the coronavirus disease.  

“But to do so, and regain the ground we have lost, we must come together as a nation,” he said.

Samples tested

Yesterday, results from 1,518 sample raised the number of confirmed cases to 2,021 with 80,054 samples tested so far.

The new cases are spread out in eight counties with 29 in Nairobi, Mombasa 14, Turkana six, Busia four, Taita Taveta two, Kajiado two, and one each in Kiambu and Kilifi.

Five more patients have succumbed, raising the death toll to 69 while the number of recoveries increased to 482 after eight more patients tested negative.

The formulation of protocols are part of President Kenyatta’s plan to re-open the economy.

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