TENSION: Uhuru Kenyatta Bans All Political Gatherings As New Wave Of Covid 19 Strikes

Kenyan President Uhuru-Kenyatta PHOTO/DAILY NATION

NAIROBI- SHIFTMEDIA– President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday announced new measures for containing the spread of the coronavirus in Kenya, starting with a ban on all political gatherings for 30 days effective midnight.

While noting an increase in the positivity rate in Kenya over the last few weeks, amid what is believed to be a third wave of infections, President Kenyatta said such functions, alongside other public and social gatherings, are significant contributors to the spread of the deadly virus.

“I direct national government administration officers and the National Police Service and county government enforcement officers to strictly enforce this order regardless of the social and political standing of the conveners, of these political [and social] gatherings]” he said, adding further actions will depend on whether the chains of transmission will have been broken by the end of the 30 days.

Curfew extended

Mr Kenyatta, in his first national address on the pandemic in Kenya in 2021, also extended the nationwide curfew by 60 days and said that all bars, restaurants and other such locations shall be closed by 9 pm.  The curfew will not affect essential service providers, factories, construction workers and those working in shifts.

He further announced that the funerals, cremations and other such rites shall be performed within 72 hours, and that attendance shall be limited to 100 immediate family members.

In the same breath, he said the number of attendees at weddings and other traditional unions shall also be capped at 100.

Regarding places of worship, the government said they will all have a maximum of a third of their capacities per gathering.

With regard to public transport, the President asked the Health and Transport ministries to work with all stakeholders in revising protocols to ensure the general public is protected.

The President also spoke about vaccination, which was rolled out in Kenya about a week ago. He noted that the country’s medical experts are persuaded that it is safe following tests . He urged the public to take the jab but noted that this is voluntary.

Crucial period

President Kenyatta’s announcements followed a declaration on Wednesday by the Ministry of Health – that the country is experiencing a third wave of infections, a year since it confirmed its first case last March.

Experts had warned that a failure by the government to impose stringent measures will be catastrophic.

The Council of Governors (CoG) also called for a 30-day ban on all political gatherings and functions in the country, with chairperson Martin Wambora described as virus “super spreaders”.

Mr Kenyatta, in his address, said the country has entered a critical stage in the fight against the virus, and asked all Kenyans to adhere to regulations issued by the government.

The President said that while the devastating effects of the virus – especially on the economy – are evident, actions taken by the government in the past one year have saved thousands of lives so it will not be hesitant about taking tough measures.

He urged the public to adhere to the guidelines the Health ministry has emphasised since the outbreak of the virus, including regular washing of hands, social distancing and wearing face masks.
“There shall continue to be strict maintenance and enforcement of public social health measures,” he said.- (Daily Nation)

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