Coronavirus in Africa: Kenya goes in partial lockdown

President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a lockdown order for travel in and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area in Kenya for the next three weeks untill 17 April. 

At the moment, the capital Nairobi seems to be the epicenter of the virus spread in Kenya. Where community transmission cases have been confirmed hence the need for a complete shutdown of movement within the capital. 

Kenya has added a new raft of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. The country reported its first case on March 13 and since then numbers have seem to be on the rise.

The new containment-centered measures will supplement the directives laid out earlier that were more preventative at first.

According to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 out of the continents 54 countries have shut down their territorial borders. A sizable chunk of this number has imposed curfews, travel bans, lockdowns and other restrictions to movement.

Kenya, a country of 50 million people, already has a dusk till dawn curfew in place but the increasing spike in a number of infections has prompted the government to roll out more stringent interventions. So far COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 6 patients in Kenya.

President announces cessation of movement

In a nationwide address at State House, Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a cessation order for travel in and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area for the next three weeks untill April 17. The directive covers sections of Kiambu County up to the Chania bridge in Thika, parts of Machakos country up to Athi River-Katani, Kajiado County including Kiserian-Kitengela-Ongata Rongai till Ngong.

Other counties where the lockdown will be conducted are Kilifi, Mombasa, and Kwale, all situated along the country’s coast and known as popular international tourist destinations. Travel through rail, road or air into or out of these areas will be curtailed. 

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Radio interview

The Kenyan President later shared on a local radio station that shutting down the whole country was impractical. He argued that such a drastic measure would deny a sizable chunk of the population from making ends meet. He even revealed that he gave the directive to arrest a senior government official who had flouted the quarantine rules.

Latest numbers update

During the daily press briefing on April 8, the Chief Administrative Secretary for Health, Dr. Mercy Mwangangi, detailed the new initiatives rolled out by the Ministry of Health are coordinated under a one-government approach that includes different ministries, development partners and people of goodwill.

The ministry has been constantly rolling out new measures, including the 719 call number, wearing a mask regularly and disposing of it off when done and avoiding public places, and much more. Today’s directives include:

  • Salons and barbershops to wear masks
  • Limit the number of clients within their premises.
  • Public to donate any oxygen tanks which are not in current use.

She revealed the discovery of 7 more cases who tested positive to tests, bringing the total tally to 179. Of the number of confirmed cases, only one is under critical care while the others fare between moderate and mild symptoms. On a bright note, 2 cases were discharged within the last 24 hours. The president had earlier set up the National Management Response Committee to perform a coordinated role in combating COVID-19. The committee is actively looking for ventilators using all contacts within their capability.

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Rumors on lawmakers

Newspaper headlines generated widespread anxiety when it was reported that 17 legislators had tested positive for the COVID-19 after random tests were conducted. The claim was however discredited by the Speaker of the National Assembly who discredited the claims as rumors. 

Institutions offering assistance

The telecommunication giant, Safaricom, has offered its 175,000 agents as a logistical distribution network. Other institutions such as the Kenya Prisons have offered assistance in the manufacture of face masks.

Ph: Authentic travel /