By Walter Odhiambo
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday painted a grim picture of how fatal the third wave of Covid-19 is, revealing that Kenya had recorded its highest number of daily infections and deaths in March, since the first case of the viral infection was announced last year.
“What is more worrying is the rising death rate from Covid-19. Between January and February 2021, three (3) people died every day from the disease; in March 2021, the number has increased to seven (7) per day, the highest since this pandemic hit us,’’ President Uhuru said.
The third wave has spiked country’s positivity rate by three per cent, from 19 per cent on March 22nd, to 22 per cent as of today, March 26th, with Nairobi county registering 60 per cent of the total new infections.
In a televised address from State House in Nairobi, the Head of State announced new guidelines to contain the surging virus, including the cessation of movement in Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Nakuru and Kiambu. The five counties have been classified as disease infected areas and have been put under one zone.
“There shall be cessation of all movement by road, rail, or air into and out of the disease infected area comprising of the Counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambuand Nakuru, effective Midnight tonight – meaning, Saturday 27th March, 2021; until otherwise notified,’’ he said.
The president revised the ongoing nationwide curfew and said it would now commence at 8:00pm and end at 4:00am in the zoned areas. However, the rest of the country will observe the curfew between 10:00pm and 4:00am daily, effective tomorrow, March 27th.
Even though there is a partial lockdown in the zoned counties, Dr Nzioka Waita, the State House Chief of Staff, explained that Kenyans within these areas can still move across the five counties but no one will be allowed to leave and enter a zoned area.
’’Kindly note that the Cessation of Movement is in and out of the 5 counties (Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu, Machakos, and Kajiado) as a ‘One Zoned Area’. You can therefore move freely within the five counties. You will not however be able to leave and enter the One Zoned Area,’’ Dr Waita tweeted.
Other measures announced by the president are suspension of nationwide physical learning in all institutions, except for students sitting for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations (KCSE) and those in the medical training institutions.
Also, employees in both the private and public sectors, are to work from home with exception of those providing essential services.