Uhuru extends curfew, bans gatherings to curb Covid-19

Thursday, August 19th, 2021 00:00 |
Director General of Health Dr Patrick Amoth (right) at the JKIA on Tuesday evening to receive 407,000 vaccines donated by the UK government. Pghoto/NICHOLAS NTHENGE

President Uhuru Kenyatta has extended the ban on all political meetings to contain the further spread of Covid-19.

In his latest review of the Covid-19 containment measures, Uhuru noted that unrestrained political gatherings had resulted in a rise in the spread of the disease in recent weeks.

“Concerned that recently evaluated reports have pointed to an exponential rise in infection rates across several counties, occasioned by unrestrained gatherings and congregations, in breach of guidelines as issued by the Ministry of Health,” read the statement issued last evening.

He added that as a result, 18 counties had recorded a positivity rate above 20 per cent with Kiambu, Nyandarua, Murang’a, Makueni, Machakos, Baringo, Meru and Nyeri recording positivity rates of more than 30 per cent.

“Consequently, all physical/in-person public gatherings and meetings, including political rallies and campaign meetings for impending by-elections are hereby suspended with immediate effect for a period of 60 days,” Uhuru directed.

Register online

The declaration comes on the eve of the commencement of Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja roadmap campaign meetings starting with an ODM delegates meeting for counties in the Nyanza region set for this morning at Sikri in Homa Bay County. 

It remains to be seen whether the meeting will proceed following the President’s pronouncement.

Incidentally, Raila, alongside the One Kenya Alliance principals led by Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Gideon Moi and Moses Wetangula held a meeting with the President at Mombasa State House yesterday with the President’s press team stating that the group discussed the pandemic.    

Earlier in the day, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe had adviced all persons seeking to be vaccinated, to register on the online Chanjosystem - – to avoid crowding at the vaccination centres as the country waits for 4.3 million vaccine doses from diverse sources next week.

Kagwe said the move has been prompted by the increasing demand for vaccination against Coronavirus by more people.

Covid-19 infections also continued to increase yesterday as 1,506 people tested positive for the disease in 24 hours from 9, 840 samples.

“The positivity rate is now 15.3 per cent,” the CS said. On Tuesday, the positivity rate was 15.2 per cent when 1, 488 persons were confirmed positive for the disease from 9, 773 samples.

Obey health protocols 

According to the World Health Organisation, the country is recording 24 weekly new deaths and 1,261 new positive cases in the same period. 

Yesterday, Kagwe announced 24 Covid-19 deaths, one of them in the last 24 hours, while 23 were late deaths reported after facility record audits for July and August 2021.

And even as the demand for vaccines grows and supplies get better, the CS emphasised that adherence to the Covid-19 public health protocols is unavoidable.

“The vaccines we have received today will be distributed countrywide to enable our people to be vaccinated,” he said on Tuesday at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) when  the government received an additional 407,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the UK Government under the Covax facility.

Health Director General, Dr Patrick Amoth, British Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya, Julius Court, UNICEF Chief of Health, Yaron Wolman and WHO Health Specialist Sergon Kibet received the consignment at JKIA.

So far, 2.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines have been administered with at least 750,000 people fully vaccinated.

The country is targeting to vaccinate at least 10 million Kenyans by December 2021 and 26 million by June 2022.

“The additional doses received will bolster the country towards meeting this goal,” Dr Amoth added.

The CS, however, allayed fears among Kenyans about unavailability of vaccines at the various vaccination sites across the country, to mean that there was hesitancy in vaccine uptake.

He noted that where supplies have been better, the ministry has witnessed more demand.“This is as it should be,” he stated.

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