A near empty Nairobi street at night. The government has declared a 7pm to 5am curfew to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 3 to 28 on Wednesday while the first recovery was reported.

As much as Kenyans continue to fear the spread of the virus, they have displayed a level of nonchalance and ignorance of advice that has made Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe call them out for failing to observe social distancing.

By week two of the outbreak, clips and photos doing rounds on social media showed Kenyans in various parts of the country failing to maintain a social distance as advised by the government. Bus termini, in particular, remains a hotspot where Kenyans overcrowd and mingle with zero regard for the possible health ramifications of their actions.

To that effect, the government has now announced a daily public curfew between 7 pm and 5 am effective Friday, March 27, 2020, with movement between those hours limited to only medical professionals and essential services providers.

“The National Security Council has sanctioned and caused the issuance of a Public Order Number 1 on the Coronavirus Pandemic,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a televised adress ” Effective Friday, 27th March 2020; a daily curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. shall be in effect in the territory of the Republic of Kenya, with all movement by persons not authorized to do so or not being medical professionals, health workers, critical and essential services providers,”

The Essential Services Providers Include

  •  Medical Professionals&Health Workers
  • National Security, Administration and Coordination Officers
  • Public Health and Sanitation officers in the County Governments
  • Licensed Pharmacies and Drug Stores
  • Licensed Broadcasters and Media Houses
  • Kenya Power & Lightening Company Limited
  • Food Dealers, Distributors, Wholesalers & Transporters of Farm Produce
  • Licensed Supermarkets, Mini-Markets and Hypermarkets
  • Licensed Distributors and Retailers of Petroleum and Oil Products and Lubricants
  • Licensed Telecommunication Operators and Service Providers
  • Licensed Banks, Financial Institutions and Payment Financial Services
  • Fire Brigade and other Emergency Response Services
  • Licensed security firms

Feeling the need to control traffic at the Mombasa ferry, President Kenyatta also handed control of the ferry services to the police and the coast guard.

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“Social Distancing is now our new norm, it is our new way of life. We reiterate that the most effective way to limit the spread of the virus is through basic changes in individual behaviour and hygiene,” urged the President.

The Head of State also took a swipe at Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi and the COVID-19 positive pastor who exposed Kenyans to the virus by leading a burial ceremony in Siaya County.

“We have recently experienced cases within our country where transmission was from our political and religious leaders who unfortunately did not heed the guidance by the Ministry of Health on self-quarantine and social distancing.” said the President.

Wash Your Hands

“Wash hands frequently with hand sanitizers or soap and water for at least 20 seconds; – cover our nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or flexed elbow; – avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms,” added the President.

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About the Author

Samuel Gitonga is a senior reporter at BUSINESS TODAY. Email: [email protected]

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