NAIROBI, 26 March 2021 – All in-person meetings and all inland travel in and out of five counties in Kenya, including the capital, Nairobi, have been banned in an effort to stop a surge of COVID-19 cases.
The new, stricter measures will come into effect at midnight on Friday.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta declared Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Machakos, and Nakuru counties to be “disease-infested zones.”
No road, rail, or air transport will be allowed until further notice, the Kenyan leader said Friday.
International travel remains open but all passengers must present negative COVID-19 certificates.
The nighttime curfew has been extended and will now begin at 8 pm until 4 am local time in the five counties worst-hit by the third wave of the pandemic.
The order withdraws all special passes or exemptions that were previously granted to certain people, allowing them to travel during restricted hours.
A ban has also been slapped on the sale of alcohol in all five counties and all restaurants can only provide takeaways.
In less than three months since January 2021, Kenya’s COVID-19 positivity rate has jumped from a mere two percent to 22 percent in March 2021.
At least seven people are dying every day from COVID-19 in the country.
Kenyatta said six out of every ten people in Nairobi test positive for COVID-19.
The Kenyan leader has also instructed his entire cabinet and members of his executive office to “lead by example”, by leading the way in taking the COVID-19 vaccinations, according to news reports citing his chief of staff Nzioka Waita.
Kenya announced its highest daily number of new infections on Wednesday, 24 hours after the country’s union of doctors said health facilities and hospitals had ran out of beds in their intensive care units (ICU).
The death of 28 people last Friday made it Kenya’s deadliest single day since the virus was first detected in March 2020. Last Wednesday was a close second, with 26 fatalities recorded in the East African nation.
As of Friday, Kenya had confirmed more than 126,000 infections of the virus with 2,092 deaths, according to data from the World Health Organization, African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), and Johns Hopkins University Hospital.