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Uhuru spares Kenyans expected lockdown

Health & Science - By Japheth Ogila | November 4th 2020 at 05:13:09 GMT +0300

Contrary to the widespread fears and rumours, President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured above) has spared Kenyans from a total lockdown but has extended the curfew to January 3, 2021.

The new curfew hours will now begin from 10 pm to 4 am and will be strictly enforced with harsh penalties promised for would-be offenders.

The President announced the new measures after he chaired the sixth intergovernmental summit on Wednesday to that deliberated on how to contain Covid-19 in the wake of increasing positivity rates after the relaxation of measures.

Uhuru gave his national address on Covid-19 from State House, Nairobi, lamenting how Kenyans and political leaders had dropped the guard on observing the Covid protocols hence the spike in infections.

Covid 19 Time Series

 

“We don’t want to go back to where we were. We don’t want our economy to suffer again. We don’t want our people to lose jobs again,” he said.

"It is a personal responsibility…Even as leaders, we have failed the test. We have been conducting our affairs like there is no virus. Let us walk the talk as leaders,” he said.

He told Kenyans it was a civic duty to observe containment measures. Pegged on this plea was the slogan “No mask, No Service,” which is meant to compel businesses to enforce the measures.

He said: “To win the overall war, the citizens must exercise civic duty and responsibility in observing Covid protocols. I remind you once again, that the government does not have the ability to police the morality of its citizens. We will double our reinforcements but the public will play a critical role.”

Rising positivity

In his address, the President announced a number of revised Covid-19 protocols attributing the decision to the alarming infection rates characterised by the high number of daily cases and deaths.

For instance, the President said that country’s positivity rate jumped from 4 per cent in September when the measures were relaxed, to 16 per cent in October. This represents a four-times increase within a span of 38 days.

“Our most successful fight against this virus was recorded after the measures we took on July 27, 2020. The stringent measures saw a fall in new cases from 4720 during the first week of July 2020 to 866 new cases during the second week of September 2020.

But when we de-escalated measures in September 2020, the 866 new cases recorded in the second week of September rose to 6402 cases by the last week of October 2020,” he said.

Just nearly more than 30 days since he addressed the country, where he also emphasised the need for personal responsibility; the President continued the same gospel albeit with a caution that stringent measures are necessary.

“These figures suggest a correlation between stringent measures and a drop in infections. They suggest that in order to heal the country in the long-run, we have to make some sacrifices in the short-run,” he said.

Revised measures

These are measures the president announced:

  • Cabinet Secretaries, Chief Administrative Secretaries and Principal Secretaries to scale-down all in-person engagements and embrace virtual platforms in discharging duties.
  • All the State and Public Officers aged above 58 years or who are immunocompromised to work remotely with the exemption of those serving the nation in critical sectors.
  • Learners in grade 4, Class 8 and Form 4 to continue with their learning and examination preparations under heightened health safety measures. All the other basic learning classes resuming in-person learning in January 2021.
  • Members of Parliament to engage their respective NG-CDF Boards with a view of making investments to support preparedness of schools for January reopening.
  • All political gatherings and rallies are suspended for a period of 60 days with immediate effect. Such meetings can only be conducted in town halls with adherence to Covid-19 protocols such as wearing face masks and limiting attendees to a third of the venue capacity.
  • Ministry of Interior to constitute a Special Enforcement Unit encompassing National Police Service, National Government Administration Officers and County Government inspectorate units to jointly enforce compliance to Covid measures.
  • All bars, restaurants, and other establishments open to the public must now close by 9.00 pm for the variation of the 10.00 pm curfew.
  • All operators of hotels, restaurants, eateries, bars and establishments that sell alcohol on wholesale or retail terms to do all that is necessary to ensure enhanced compliance with the Ministry of Health’s Guidelines and Protocols.
  • The directions governing religious gatherings remain unchanged. Any indoor religious gathering other than for the purpose of a wedding or funeral shall have no more than one-third of its normal seating capacity occupied at a given sitting.
  • That county governments to maintain isolation facilities in a state of preparedness through continuous capacity building for healthcare workers, provision of adequate PPEs for healthcare workers and continuous implementation of Infection Prevention and Control measures and provision of portable oxygen.
  • That where there is an upsurge of Covid-19 cases in a specific county, the National Government will consult with the affected county to issue localised lockdowns and movement restrictions as may be necessary to stem the spread of the disease.
  • That county governments and other relevant government agencies to enhance and strictly enforce all public health social measures including hand washing, social distancing and mandatory wearing of masks in public places.
  • That services will not be rendered to anyone who does not abide by the Ministry of Health protocols to enforce civic responsibility.

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