President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew by another additional 30 days crushing the hopes of a section of Kenyans who had hoped that his much-anticipated announcement would be to lift the restrictions.
While the curfew period has been extended, the times have been moved to 9pm-4am from 7pm-5pm. This, the President said, was to allow Kenyans the opportunity to enjoy a full-day’s work and have adequate time to go back home in time.
The President also extended the order on cessation of movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area and the counties of Mombasa and Mandera by another 30 days.
He, however, announced that similar orders imposed on Nairobi’s Eastleigh area, Mombasa’s Old Town area and the counties of Kwale and Kilifi will be lifted with effect from June 7. Moreover, the related orders imposed on Eastleigh and Old Town were also lifted.
“Nairobi is not like Kwale and Kilifi. In Kilifi and Kwale, the cases have been decreasing while in Nairobi the cases are rising,” Kenyatta told reporters after his live televised address at State House.
Kenyatta said that he was in favour of reopening the economy, given the hardships that Kenyans were experiencing, but advice from the experts prompted him not do so at such a great risk to the population.
“Some, including myself, wanted to open up now. That was, and is still my desire. I want to open up at the earliest opportunity and get the economy going. More so, as Kenya was ranked the third largest economy in Sub-Sahara Africa this week.”
The President also extended the closure of all bars, all social and political gatherings and restrictions on international travel. Schools will also remain closed until September with the Ministry of Education directed to issue and publicise guidelines on a gradual and progressive return to normalcy in the education sector. The Education ministry is also expected to announce a new school calendar by mid-August.
With Kenya’s health facilities overwhelmed by the burden of the virus, the President questioned whether Kenyans were ready to care for the sick at home and expose their loved ones to the deadly virus.
The government had already said that it planned to discharge COVID-19 patients who were asymptomatic for them to recover at home and reduce congestion in hospitals.
The Ministries of Interior and Health were also ordered to form an inter-faith council to formulate protocols to reopen places of worship.
The Ministry of Transport was also directed to engage all key stakeholders and develop protocols to guide the resumption of local air travel.
As of June 6, Kenya has recorded 2,600 confirmed cases and 83 deaths from the virus.
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