There will be little tourism, scarce investment and falling trade if the global pandemic is not contained in Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned.
The president was speaking during the 10th presidential address on the covid-19 status in the country. Nationally, 17,603 persons have so far tested positive for the virus. The virus has now infected Kenyans in 44 counties out of 47.
The president has put in place measures to further curtail the spread of the virus in the country even as the numbers keep soaring day by day.
Among the measures is the move to extend the nationwide curfew by a further 30 days.
“My greatest concern at the moment is the aggressive surge of infections among young Kenyans who are in turn infecting their elders. Contact tracing of the recent surge of infections indicates that our socialising without regard for protective behaviour, particularly in environments serving alcohol, is becoming a high risk factor. We are fortunate that our Case Fatality Rate, at 1.6%, is much lower than the global average. Perhaps it is this relatively low rate that is giving some Kenyans false comfort that this is not a serious health risk to them and their families.” The president said in his state of nation address.
Directions from the president to curb the spread of the virus:
- The Nationwide Curfew shall remain in force for a further 30 days.
- There will be no sale of alcoholic drinks and beverages in eateries and restaurants across the Territory of the Republic of Kenya, effective at midnight today, for the next 30 days.
- The closing time for restaurants and eateries has been amended from 8pm to 7pm, starting today at midnight, for the next 30 days.
- Bars shall remain closed until further notice.
- That the Inspector–General of the National Police Service shall cause withdrawal of all licenses for bars operating in breach of this directive.
- That the Inspector General shall file a weekly return of all bars whose licenses have been withdrawn to the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Co-ordination of National Government.
- That the Inspector General of Police shall ensure that his officers spare no mheshimiwa, or individual, regardless of social status or rank, who is either out after curfew or who flaunts the health protocols without being an essential worker. The rules are for all of us, and rank or status does not exempt you from them.
- That the National Government Administration Officers and the National Police Service will strictly enforce Ministry of Health protocols on public gatherings, and particularly funerals.
- That strict personal sanction will ensue to all police and National Administration officers in whose areas of jurisdiction there is breach of the set guidelines.
- That the Ministry of Health will develop a protocol to temporarily retain retired anesthetists and ICU staff to support the medical staff assigned to dealing with serious COVID-19 cases in the Counties.
- That any Government Institutions including all sporting facilities, stadia and educational institutions and other Government facilities, upon designation by the Cabinet Secretary for Health as a public health facility, shall be availed to the Ministry of Health for Isolation and Quarantine purposes.
- If, and when, necessary, these measures will be made even more stringent. We will do this without hesitation because we hold precious the life of every Kenyan.
Recently, European Union released a Sh302.5 million ($2.8 million) grant to boost their Covid-19 response capacities in nine counties.
The programme, to be managed by Amref Health Africa, will be implemented over the next seven months and is geared towards increasing testing, enhancing home-based care and supporting local innovations such as no-touch hand-washing stations.
According to Amref Health Africa Country Director Meshack Ndirangu said the money will complement counties’ investments in the fight against the virus.
“Our aim is to flatten the curve and slow down infections in the country. We need to prevent an upsurge in cases that may overwhelm our health system,” Dr Ndirangu said.
EU has also made a €5 million fully financed grants contribution towards Kenya’s Response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are meant to strengthen the health response across Kenya.
The project is expected to strengthen the health response to COVID-19 at the national and county levels in an inclusive and gender responsive way, enhance community engagement for a better management and control of COVID-19, and provide safety nets for the most vulnerable households shielding them from the worst of the pandemic’s impact on the economy.
With €2.5M funding, Amref Health Africa will support Nairobi, Nyeri, Kiambu, Laikipia, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Kajiado, Machakos and Kitui counties with the emergency response to COVID-19, by strengthening the national and sub-national capacity to detect COVID-19 at source, manage the virus and deliver continuity of essential health services.