President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a 21-day extension to an ongoing nationwide curfew on Saturday, April 25, to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The curfew will remain in effect from 19:00 and 05:00 (local time); only medical professionals as well as critical and essential service providers are exempt from the curfew. In addition, an existing cessation of movement order for Nairobi, Mombassa, Kilifi, and Kwale, will be extended by 21 days as these areas are most at-risk for the virus. All public transportation including inter-ward, inter-sub county, and movement between villages is suspended, though exceptions will be made for those transporting food. Nairobi and Mombasa accounted for majority of the cases confirmed nationwide. Minimal operations will be allowed in hotels and eateries in selected counties only if the government's measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are adhered to.
On Wednesday, April 22, the government announced a 21-day ban on movement in Mandera County. All road, rail, and air transport in and out of the affected areas have been suspended. The transport of food and cargo have been allowed to continue. Authorities have warned that stricter measures may be implemented if necessary. Face masks must be worn at all times when in public and a distance of one meter should be maintained from others. Businesses have been ordered to provide soap and water, or an alcohol-based sanitizer, at building entranceways. Those found in breach of the new measures could face a Sh 20,000 fine or six months of jail time. Given the current shortage of masks, the Ministry of Health advised that the public could use scarfs to cover their faces.
Authorities previously announced the launch of an online portal for foreign nationals present in the country wishing to extend their visitor's visas. According to the statement, foreign visitors will be required to provide notification of their visitor's pass extension upon exiting the country. All residents whose permits and passes have expired are directed to apply for an extension through the same portal.
Additionally, authorities announced a 30-day extension on an existing ban for all international flights on April 6. Only cargo flights will be allowed to operate; however, the crew must follow strict regulations. The land border between Kenya and Uganda has also been closed to all pedestrians and vehicles, except for cargo trucks. All individuals entering Kenya from a country with reported COVID-19 cases must self-quarantine for 14 days or until they have been free of symptoms for over 14 days from their time of entry.
To date, there are 343 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 14 related deaths nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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