Kenya announces phased reopening from coronavirus lockdown

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  • Kenya is lifting restrictions on travel in and out of Nairobi and allowing air travel to resume.
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta said the country has reached a reasonable level of preparedness.
  • Mosques and churches will be allowed to host services again.


Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta announced on Monday a phased reopening of the country from a Covid-19 lockdown, lifting restrictions on travel in and out of the capital Nairobi and allowing air travel to resume.

Kenyatta said the country has reached a reasonable level of preparedness for a partial loosening of restrictions but urged caution and warned against reckless behaviour.

"Today I order and direct that the cessation of movement into and out of the Nairobi metropolitan area, Mombasa county and Mandera county that is currently enforced shall lapse today or at 04:00, Tuesday, 7 July 2020," said Kenyatta in a televised address.

READ | Stigma, fears of quarantine hinder Kenya's Covid-19 fight

Domestic commercial and passenger flights are scheduled to restart on 15 July, Kenyatta said, while international travel will resume from 1 August.

Mosque and churches will be allowed to host services again, but for a maximum of an hour with only 100 worshippers allowed at a time.

Kenya had confirmed nearly 7 900 cases of the coronavirus as of 6 July, with 160 deaths, with cases continuing to climb. On Saturday, 389 new infections were reported in the country's biggest single-day jump.

The outbreak has battered the economy, with the finance ministry projecting growth to slow to 2.5% this year from 5.4% last year, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenyatta said the reopening of the country came with risks, and urged Kenyans to take precautions.

"Although the path to recovery is rocky and uneven, it is navigable," he said.

He nevertheless extended the current nationwide nightly curfew between 21:00 and 04:00 for a further 30 days. He also warned that should the situation worsen over the next few weeks the country could be locked down again.

"In the next 21 days we shall study patterns of interactions and the spread of the disease. Any trends that signal a worsening of the pandemic, we will have no choice but to return to lockdown," the president said.

"For us to revive the economy, reopen and remain open, the government and all citizens must pull together," he added.

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