A new month and with it comes another round of highly anticipated speeches by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the wake of the elapse of restrictions imposed on the country to curb the spread of coronavirus.
So far he has ordered for Nairobi and Mombasa borders to be sealed, a nationwide dusk to dawn curfew which has since been adjusted to allow working on a full day shift and the closure of national borders to the likes of Tanzania and Somalia.
Over the month of June, COVID-19 cases continue flying upwards, even with the restrictions in place. As of Sunday July 5, 309 individuals tested positive, bringing the total case tally to 7,886…almost 8,000. 51 people discharged, total number of recoveries being 2,287 and death toll rising to 160, with 1 more patient succumbing to the virus.
The previous day Kenya narrowly recorded 400 cases, leaving President Uhuru Kenyatta with a pile of homework on his hands. He hinted that he was working with other bodies of government to reopen the economy, but the steepening of the COVID-19 curve leaves him with tough choices.
Here’s what he’s expected to address during his briefing on Monday July 6:
Lockdown/Cessation Of Movement
It is likely that this will not change. The cessation that was in force amongst the counties of Nairobi and Mombasa will continue for another month. We shouldn’t expect it to be less with the scary figures being reported each month. But there will be a twist…
Ease Of Restrictions on Domestic Flights
We’ve all seen the photos doing rounds on social media of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport being inspected, with a raft of measures in place. It could be expected that air travel will resume, but with more controlled measures.
However this will be a slow process, with domestic flights expected to be rolled out first before international flights follow suit. When this will be in place remains to be questioned.
Extension of Curfew
Sorry folks. It’s here to stay. For another month or more. However the unpredicability of the government means nobody is sure if anything else will be done to it. Ever since the curfew times were adjusted, the curve has been growing steeper.
Oh wait…More Restrictions
Because a lot of Kenyans have assumed normalcy, everything was just as it is before COVID-19, restaurants are being crammed with customers and masks have become fashion history. The result? We leave that for our readers to guess. All in all, expect him to announce additional measures.
And that includes the roadblocks put in place to enforce the cessation. Especially for Nairobi which is turning out to be the most notorious. Mombasa has the highest attack rate in the country but one doesn’t hear people sneaking out of the county.
Re-opening of churches…and schools
The million dollar question. Word has it that the churches might be reopened, but not right away…maybe by August. It will be subject to obeying a rule that defines only 30 people (less for smaller capacity churches) will be attending the sermons. Services could be split apart, conducted in an entire Sunday, the time limit being an hour among other things such as sanitizing the place before every service.
Some of us have been doing pretty well without churches, following the services from home. Others just can’t do without buildings, those that want the actual place instead of praying from home.
Then there’s schools. Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha hinted that schools may not open in September as was ordered on June 6 by President Kenyatta. This was in line with health officials predicting that the peak could come around September. According to him, the schools would only open after the peak has elapsed, not before. In short, expect schools to resume by January 2021.
Universities however will be spared, with the opening period set for September. Unlike schools, universities are better equipped to carry out the measures suggested by the education sector, from social distancing in classes to wearing of masks as well as providing check points at every entry for temperature as well as sanitizing points, also placed all over.
Social distancing in high schools and primary schools will be difficult.
Limiting classes to 30 people sounds like gibberish. Let’s not even get started on the order to have all teachers tested for COVID-19 before schools resume. There are over 300,000 registered teachers in the country. The nation has tested a total of up to 190,000 people.
Moreover politicians will be warned for violating COVID-19 protocols, a warning very few of them will take seriously. It seems we are still yet to realise that the coronavirus is with us. Or now that we at least know someone who has been infected or has died from it, what are we waiting for?
Here are more issues the President is expected to address in the July 6 speech as sent from WhatsApp:
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