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President Uhuru Kenyatta during a past media briefing. Photo: Courtesy

Politicians put on notice as President Kenyatta extends nighttime curfew for another 30 days.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has on Monday directed the police to enforce government measures on the containment of Covid-19 without favor. Speaking at State House, Kenyatta indicated that the measures that he was announcing would apply to all citizens in the republic of Kenya regardless of social or political standing. He cautioned that personal sanctions will be placed on officers in whose jurisdictions breach of protocols occurred.

The Head of State also directed the IG of police to enforce the withdrawal of all licenses of businesses operating in breach of the containment measures and file weekly returns with the Ministry of Interior and Coordination on the licenses withdrawn. He said that withdrawal of licenses would be permanent.

President Kenyatta also expressed concerns over the rising number of cases particularly among young people who were in turn infecting their older counterparts. He said that Kenyans had adopted a lax attitude which was detrimental to the war against the disease, …”The CFR is much lower than the global average. It is this relatively low rate that is giving Kenyans false comfort that this pandemic is not a seriour health risk to them and their families”, he indicated. ”There are people who have interpreted the deescalation of measures as a green light to pay no heed to the guidance provided by our health authorities…”.

He said that the government could not be everywhere to police individuals, emphasising the need for personal responsibility in winning the war against Covid-19, ” We need citizens to hold each other accountable. For example, if someone enters your shop, even though you want the business, if they do not have a mask, you have to insist that they wear one. If you go to a restaurant and the waiter who comes to serve you has not complied to the regulations walk away and take your business elsewhere”. He also added, ”We are living in abnormal times. Countries whose citizens have taken a lax attitude have suffered greatly. Let us not think that we are immune or special, we are not”.

President Kenyatta also sent his condolences to the families of those who have so far succumbed to the disease and cautioned that it was unfortunate that there would be more. He reiterated that many countries with advanced and extensive healthcare systems compared to Kenya had been completely overwhelmed, ”There will be more, the only question is whether we shall emerge with low numbers of death, or we shall suffer a catastrophe”.

In addition to the measures given, the Head of State also directed that there would be no sale of alcoholic beverages in eateries and resturants effective midnight. He also pushed the closing time for restaurants from 8pm to 7pm, while emphasising that bars would remain closed until further notice. The nationwide dusk to dawn curfew would also remain in effect for another 30 days.

The Ministry of Health has been directed to institute protocols of temporarily retaining retired ICU staff to support medical staff assigned to deal with serious Covid-19 cases. President Kenyatta has also orderd that any government institution including sporting facilities, stadiums and even learning institutions be availed to the MoH for isolation and quarantine purposes.