President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced the extension of the nationwide curfew by a further 30 days stating that it is not yet fully safe to fully reopen the economy as such a move would pose a threat to public health.
Speaking during a live adress to the nation from State House, Nairobi on Saturday, President Kenyatta, however, revised the curfew hours from 7pm-5am to 9pm to 4am, a move he said will afford Kenyans more working hours and the flexibility to get home after clearing their shifts.
The President also lifted the cessation of movement into and from Kilifi and Kwale counties as well as Eastleigh (Nairobi) and Old Town (Mombasa) effective June 7 after data indicated that COVID-19 cases were starting to drop in these regions.
However, the cessation of movement orders will continue to apply in Mombasa and Mandera Counties as well as the Nairobi Metropolitan Area (NMS) by another 30 days following the recommendation of health experts.
The ban on social gatherings including but not limited to political gatherings, social gatherings including bars was also extended by a further 30 days.
“We must accept that we are not dealing with a right or wrong opinion we are caught in between two rights. Those who want to open the economy are right and those opposed to opening the economy are also right,” said President Kenyatta.
“This clash of two rights placed us on the horns of a dilemma. In the absence of scientific consensus among our experts, I asked for some scenarios. I wanted to know the best and worst-case scenarios in order to contain the disease without affecting the economy irreversibly,” said President Kenyatta.
“Had we not taken the stringent measures that we did in March 2020, the rate of infections in Kenya would have peaked to 800,000 people by July. The number would have hit 2.1 million people if we operated under the guise that 1 infected person can infect two people and by the end of August approximately 75,000 Kenyans would have lost their lives,” said the Head of State.
Schools & Churches
The President also ordered the Ministry of Health and The Ministry of Education to engage the relevant stakeholders to set modalities that will guide the reopening of schools by the third term which is September 1. President Kenyatta also ordered the Ministry of Education to announce the new school calendar by the mid-August.
Uhuru also directed The Ministry of Interior Ministry and the Inter Faith Council to constitute a committee within 7 days to work out modalities and protocols for reopening places of worship.
The President also gave the clearest indication that the national government also harbours serious reservations over the seriousness of some counties in preparing to fight the pandemic hence the measured approach.
According to President Kenyatta, the government will only moot fully reopening the economy once all counties demonstrate the capacity to set aside isolation centres with a minimum of 300 beds.
“Siaya County has only a 10-bed isolation facility and they have already admitted 9 COVID-19 cases from 1 incident. Similarly, Busia County has a 34-bed isolation facility and two days ago that isolation facility was full. If there is a surge in infections in just these two counties our health systems will most definitely be overwhelmed,” said Uhuru.