NAIROBI, 18 June 2021 – Kenyan authorities have declared the western part of the country a COVID-19 hotspot, imposing new and stricter restrictions.

All but essential travel between, into, and out of 13 counties in western Kenya will be “strongly discouraged” effective Friday, a health official in Kenya’s health ministry told reporters Thursday in the capital, Nairobi.

Kenya Declares its Western Region a COVID-19 Hotspot - Photo Africa News

Kenya Declares its Western Region a COVID-19 Hotspot – Photo Africa News

Kenya - Source AFP

Kenya – Source AFP

The curfew in the area will begin at 7 pm daily, being three hours ahead of the curfew in other regions of the country.

The night-time curfew will stay in effect nationwide until 4 am every day.

The lakeside city of Kisumu and nearby towns covering an area that stretches to the border with Uganda are included as part of the COVID-19 designated hotspot.

COVID-19 infections in the designated area seat at 21 percent, compared to a national average of nine percent, health officials pointed out Thursday.

Public gatherings including all physical forms of worship along with sports events have been banned in the hotspot area.

Cinema halls, bars, and house parties have also been banned.

Kenya's Supply of COVID-19 Vaccines Not Keeping Up with Demand - Photo News24

Kenya’s Supply of COVID-19 Vaccines Not Keeping Up with Demand – Photo News24

COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Ongoing in Kenya but Slowed by Limited Supply - Photo UNICEF

COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Ongoing in Kenya but Slowed by Limited Supply – Photo UNICEF

Last June 1, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta celebrated the commemoration of the country’s independence from Britain at a ceremony in Kisumu attended by tens of thousands of people.

At the time, medics had questioned the wisdom of carrying on with the event in the midst of a pandemic.

Infection rates in Kisumu, at the time of the celebrations, were already higher than elsewhere in the country and the town’s referral hospital had indicated a shortage of isolation facilities and intensive care beds.

As of Thursday, Kenya has reported over 3,400 deaths from the pandemic.

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