Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday announced a 30-day extension of night curfews alongside closure of bars and nightclubs in order to curb transmission of COVID-19.
Kenyatta said during a televised address to the nation that the extension of the COVID-19 containment measures was justified since the country was yet to flatten the curve despite a drop in new infections and deaths.
Kenyatta said that a ban on sale of alcohol by licensed hotels with residence had been lifted, adding that closing time for restaurants and eateries will be pushed from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. local time (5:00 to 6:00 GMT) effective from Thursday.
He said that bar owners in conjunction with the ministry of health will in the next 30 days develop protocols to guide safe reopening of entertainment joints after an extended closure.
Kenya’s COVID-19 cases reached 33,016 on Wednesday after 213 people tested positive for the virus amid steady drop in the number of new infections and deaths witnessed since the beginning of August.
The nationwide positivity rate dropped from 13 percent in June to 8 percent in August thanks to strict adherence to containment measures like social distancing, hygiene and wearing of masks.
“Infections have gotten to a manageable level. In fact, we are reporting more recoveries in some instances than infections. Hot spots like Mombasa and Nairobi have begun to stabilize,” said Kenyatta.
He said the government had intensified efforts to achieve a 5 percent positivity rate recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to guide full reopening of the economy.
Kenyatta said that a COVID-19 recovery rate of 58 percent reaffirmed the effectiveness of home-based program which was rolled out to ease backlogs in public health facilities.
He said that the maximum number of people allowed to attend weddings and funerals will be 100, but they will be expected to abide by ministry of health protocols to curb transmission of COVID-19.
Kenyatta said the government will on Thursday provide guidelines on safe operation of second-hand clothes businesses after a ban on their importation was lifted.
He said that guidelines on resumption of sporting activities after more than six months of suspension linked to COVID-19 will be announced soon.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health said 241 patients recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 19,296.
The minister said five people succumbed to the disease between Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths to 564.
The east African nation has so far tested a total of 433,530 samples in a bid to help identify cases and offer immediate treatment.