Uhuru lifts lockdown, curfew in zoned area revised

In Summary

• In-person worship will be allowed up to a third of capacity.

• Restaurants and bars will be allowed to operate until 7pm.

Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli and President Uhuru Kenyatta during Labour Day celebrations at State House Nairobi on May 1, 2021.
Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli and President Uhuru Kenyatta during Labour Day celebrations at State House Nairobi on May 1, 2021.
Image: PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced a lifting of the lockdown in the Covid-19 high risk zone of five counties.

The President had on March 26 announced that there was cessation of movement into and out of the counties of Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Nakuru as a block.

In his speech on Labour Day celebrations at State House, Nairobi, on Saturday, he said the curfew within the zone will revert to 10pm to 4am.

The curfew within the zone had run from 8pm to 4am, while for the rest of the country, the curfew was between 10pm and 4am.

Bars and restaurants will be allowed to operate until 7pm.

The President also urged employers to let staff work from home as far as is possible.

Uhuru also announced that schools will reopen this month as planned. There had been concerns on whether schools would reopen with surging Covid-19 cases.

The President, however, warned that restrictions could be re-escalated if Kenyans do not cooperate by following safety protocols. He also said the restrictions could be de-escalated if Kenyans do their part to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“If we fail to play our individual role, like it or hate it, it is my responsibility to protect life, I will do what I can to prevent what is happening in other countries,” he said.

Uhuru's lifting of the lockdown comes as businesspeople and Kenyans at large raised concerns about the state of the economy following restrictions.

Activists had on Saturday convened in Nairobi's CBD and planned a protest march to State House to demonstrate against the measures causing pain in Kenyans' pockets.

Police however stopped protesters in their tracks.

Uhuru further announced that in-person worship will be allowed but with strict adherence to guidelines by the Ministry of Health. He insisted that places of worship will only allow one-third of their capacity.

The President noted that when he announced the lockdown in March, Nairobi had a caseload of 56, 000 but it has gone down to 15, 000 by end of April, representing a decrease of 74 per cent.

“Data suggest that the case load in the zones areas went down by 72 per cent after a month of lockdown,” he explained.

He noted that in other areas of the country, the caseload went down by 89 per cent. “In Mombasa it went down by 90 per cent, the same as Busia,” he added.

When he announced the lockdown in March, the positivity rate had jumped from two per cent to 22 per cent in three months. Nairobi accounted for nearly 60 per cent of the cases.

Hospital admissions had increased 52 per cent in the past two weeks and that at least seven people were dying every day from coronavirus.