President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the nation on Covid-19 containment measures on Monday, reiterating the need for seriousness as the country’s infections spike.
The President did not impose a lockdown of any kind as expected, announcing instead that the nationwide 9pm to 5am curfew had been extended by another 30 days.
He said such a measure will not benefit anybody and that the responsibility to contain the virus lies with individuals.
The spike in infections came after his July 6 address in which he eased measures including a cessation of movement into counties considered hotspots – Nairobi, Mandera and Mombasa.
The dilemma has been in the area of economic stability amid the pandemic, with many organisations downsizing and introducing pay cuts and business people taking huge losses due to the ban on public gatherings.
Eateries and restaurants have been reopened but learning has been suspended until 2021. Regarding the operations of eateries and restaurants, the President on Monday changed their closing time from 8pm to 7pm effective midnight.
He said bars will remain closed until further notice.
President Kenyatta issued several other directives to ministries and counties, including one deferring the reopening of universities to January 2021.
He told the Education ministry to facilitate this and ensure online learning and graduations continue.
In terms of county preparedness, he instructed the Health ministry to develop a protocol to temporarily retain ICU staff and anaesthetists in the devolved units.
On religious ceremonies and festivals, he said they will continue to take place but with strict adherence to guidelines issued by the Interfaith Council.
Key among the directives are for services to last an hour only, have just 100 members and lock out people younger than 13 years and older than 58.
The President met the Council of Governors, chaired by Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, before his address to the nation.
In his address to the country, President Kenyatta made an appeal for the public to take the disease seriously, noting police cannot be assigned to each individual.
The country’s low case fatality rate is giving the wrong impression, he said, placing it at 1.6 per cent.
“The harsh reality is that we are at war with an invisible enemy and in war, no mercy shall be shown on either side,” the President said.
“We have seen graves dug for tens of thousands and witnessed lonely burials. We have seen pictures of burials at night. We cannot allow this to be our fate in Kenya.
“280 kenyans have lost their lives and there will be more. The only question is whether we shall emerge with low numbers of death or suffer a catastrophe.”