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Coronavirus: Kenya takes bold steps after cases rise to three

Tuesday March 24 2020
By NASIBO KABALE

President Uhuru Kenyatta has confirmed two more cases of the deadly coronavirus in Kenya.

In his address to the nation on Sunday, he said the confirmations followed tests on 27 people who came into close contact with the country's first patient.

President Kenyatta said the two patients were also taken to the isolation centre at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) for treatment.

"Medical teams are closely monitoring the patients and they are responding well to treatment," he said.

"The government will ensure all patients are given full support so that they recover."

UHURU'S ORDERS

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Following the three cases, President Kenyatta:

  1. Suspended entry into Kenya by people from all countries affected by the Covid-19 disease for 30 days. This will take effect in the next 48 hours.

    He said that only Kenyan citizens and foreigners with permits will be allowed into the country provided they quarantine.

  2. Ordered the self-quarantine of all people who have entered Kenya over the last 14 days.

    He said they should go to hospitals for checks should they exhibit symptoms.

  3. Suspended learning in all institutions.

    Primary and secondary day schools will suspend operations from Monday with boarding schools doing the same by Wednesday.

    Universities and tertiary institutions will be closed by Friday.

  4. Asked government offices and businesses to allow employees to work from home.

  5. Urged cashless transactions to prevent the risk of transmission through physical handling of money.

  6. Asked the public to avoid congregating and visiting crowded places such as malls.

  7. Asked hospitals, malls and other such establishments to provide soap, water and sanitisers.

  8. Warned traders of stern action against hoarding of goods and unfair price increases as economy takes a hit.

    While noting the Competition Authority's clear instructions on trade following severe economic impacts of the virus across the world, President Kenyatta said these practices will not be tolerated.

INCONVENIENCES

The President appealed for calm, saying Kenya was on high alert and that all necessary measures were being taken to prevent more cases of the virus.

"Avoid misinformation that causes panic and anxiety," he told the public.

"Some measures taken today may cause inconveniences but they are designed to ensure we contain the spread of the virus."

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said the schools will be closed indefinitely.

QUARANTINED PEOPLE

The President's update followed the isolation of 22 people whom the Health ministry said had been in close contact with the first patient.

In its briefing on Saturday, the Health ministry said the patient is undergoing treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi.

Samples collected from them are being tested at laboratories at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri).

The ministry further said that 23 people of mixed nationalities who travelled with the patient were traced and advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.

JUDICIARY MEASURES

Earlier on Saturday, the Judiciary issued several instructions for members in a bid to prevent spread of the virus within the country.

Chief Justice David Maraga told a press briefing that court activities will be reduced for two weeks effective Monday to allow further consultations on the matter and the design of appropriate response measures.

CJ Maraga said prisoners and remandees will not be presented to court for the two weeks.

“All conferences, workshops, colloquia and training programmes are suspended until further notice. There will be no foreign travel for the next 30 days for staff of the justice sector institutions, whether official or private, save for exceptional circumstances,” he added.

Meanwhile, news agency Reuters reported on Sunday that its tally had found a total of 156,465 infections and 5,838 deaths across the world since the outbreak started in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

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