Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday extended nationwide curfew for another three weeks, saying cessation of movement in some counties would remain in place for the same period.
Kenyatta told a televised news conference in Nairobi that he took the decision following advice he received from the health ministry and relevant government agencies about the prevailing health situation in the country.
“The cessation of movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan area and the counties of Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa that are currently in force shall be extended for a further containment period of 21 days,” said Kenyatta.
He appreciated the work of health and security personnel standing at the forefront of the war against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenyatta appealed to Kenyans to adhere to health regulations put in place by the government and assured the nation that the economy would soon reopen.
The cessation of movement in several counties and the dust-dawn curfew are among a raft of new measures aimed at combating the spread of the coronavirus.
“The nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew that is currently in force shall also be extended for a further period of 21 days,” said Kenyatta.
“We will escalate and de-escalate on the basis of how vulnerable we are to large-scale infection,” he added.
The Kenyan leader warned that the government would not delay in escalating the measures put in place if the need arises.
“Kenyans let us unite and fight the pandemic together. As a government, we don’t want to announce more strict measures for Kenyans but if need be, we will not hesitate,” he said.
He said the counties of Mandera in the northeast region, Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa in the coastal region had registered an increase in the number of infections and warned that if the trend did not reverse, more stringent measures would be taken in consultation with the respective county governments.
“To ensure that porous borders and security threats do not compromise our response to this pandemic, the security services will upgrade their alert and response measures in every border area,” the president said.
Kenya has also banned large gatherings to ensure social distancing, closed learning institutions and suspended international passenger flights and closed borders among other measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Kenya on Friday reported 16 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 336.
Rashid Aman, chief administrative secretary at the health ministry, said the 16 cases are all Kenyans with no history of travel and were picked out from among communities by medical surveillance teams.