By Samuel Ouma
The Kenyan government has shrugged off calls by a section of Kenyans to open the economy despite the third wave of Covid-19 in the country.
Addressing journalists in Nairobi, Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe termed the calls as premature saying science and facts, and not feelings, lead the government.
“We have no choice for the time being and as much as we sympathize with our fellow Kenyans we have to keep the containment measures at least until we come down to a level that is understandable,” said Kagwe.
There has been pressure on the government to do away with the partial cessation of movements imposed on five counties described as the zoned disease counties. The counties include Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Kajiado, and Machakos.
Kenyans also want the dusk to dawn curfew hours reviewed. Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja pleaded with President Uhuru Kenyatta to revise the hours from 8 pm to 10 pm to save commuters of the hardships they undergo in the traffic snarl-ups in the city.
Sakaja defended his request with the construction of the Nairobi Expressway, which he said has disrupted the traffic flow in the city.
“Many innocent people are caught out with the curfew and as the Senator of Nairobi I can only plead with the President to kindly revise the curfew time.”
“I hold that the 8 pm curfew imposed in Nairobi be reviewed upwards to earliest 10 pm due to the nature of our public transport as well as livelihoods,” said Sakaja.
However, Kagwe maintained that the protocols would not be relaxed even though the ministry has registered a drop in positivity rate in the zoned counties.
The 8 pm to 4 am curfew hours in the five counties, and 10 pm to 4 am in the other regions will run until May 29, as announced by the Ministry of Interior last week.
At the same time, Kagwe raised the alarm over the surge in Covid-19 cases in four other counties: Murang’a, Uasin Gishu, Siaya, and Nyeri.
He asked the county emergency committees to establish county-specific containment regulations to contain the spikes in those areas.
“If that happens and if we continue the way we are going then it is likely that we are going to go down to the recommended five per cent flattening rate that WHO says is what we should be aiming at,” Kagwe added.
He also called on Kenyans not to drop their guards against the deadly disease.