The Third Wave of COVID-19 is at hand in Kenya. According to the government, the wave is expected to peak in the next 30 days with more than 2,500 to 3,000 cases reported daily in a country with a population of 47.6 million.
The number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in January 2021 was 4,380; this raised to 15,916 confirmed cases by the end of March 2021. At the end of January 2021, Kenya’s COVID-19 positivity rate stood at 2.6%. By the end of March 2021, the positivity rate had jumped to 19%; and indications by health experts is that the positivity rate is at 22%.
That means that for every 100 Kenyans tested for COVID ,20 will be positive; compared to January this Year, when only 2 would have been positive.The rate of infection has gone up 10 times between January and March 2021. Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi accounts for nearly to 60% of the recorded cases; out of every 10 positive cases countrywide, six are from Nairobi.
In a random sample of five people in Nairobi tested for COVID-19, three are likely to be positive. Between January and February 2021, three people died every day from COVID-19; in March 2021, the number went up to seven every day, the highest since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the country in mid March 2020.
Over the last one month, the country has experienced a steep and sustained rise in the number of admissions for COVID-19. Since March 12, 7,630 Kenyans have been admitted into hospitals for COVID-19. An increase by 52% in two weeks.In January 2021, an average of 20 Kenyans were in Intensive Care Units, needing Oxygen.
This number went up to just under 30 persons in the month of February.In March, over 950 Kenyans were in ICU wards for COVID-19 related complications. It is a clear indication that now Kenya is squarely in the grip of a third wave of the Pandemic. It is against this background President Uhuru Kenyatta, in his 15th presidential address on coronavirus pandemic on March 26,issued the following strict measures to avert a national health crisis.
There cessation of all movement by road, rail, or air into and out of the disease infected area as one Zoned Area comprising of the Counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru. International travel into and out Kenya continues in accordance with the existing guidelines on Foreign and International Travel.
All persons coming into the Country must be in possession of a negative COVID-19 PCR Certificate, acquired no more than 96 hours prior to arrival into the Country; with the PCR Certificate also having been validated under the Trusted Travel platform for those travelling by air.
The hours of the nationwide curfew are revised to commence at 8 pm and end at 4 am in the Zoned Area. The rest of the country observes curfew between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. daily. Worship in all places of worship in the Zoned Area is suspended but elsewhere worship and congregational continues to be conducted in keeping with the one-third rule and in accordance with the guidelines of the Inter-Faith Council.
There is suspension of all on-going physical learning in all educational institutions, other than for candidates sitting for their examinations and those in medical training institutions. All sporting activities are suspended and operations of sporting and recreational facilities including Members Clubs are suspended. All restaurants and eateries in the Nairobi Metropolitan area provide takeaway services only while operations of bars, restaurants and eateries in the countryside continue to operate in strict fidelity to Ministry of Health Guidelines.
Sale of alcohol in restaurants and eateries in the Zoned Areas is prohibited. Public Transport Operators are directed to strictly uphold the re-designated 60% carrying capacity and enforcement of implementation of infection prevention control measures in market places such as hand washing stations; while also ensuring that all sellers and buyers are fully masked and maintain physical distance.
All public and private employers and enterprises are directed to allow employees to work from home, with the exception of employees working in critical or essential services that cannot be delivered remotely. All hospitals are directed to limit the number of visitors for hospitalized patients to two visitors per patient.
Funerals, cremations and other interment ceremonies are conducted strictly within 72 hours of confirmation of death. Attendees, officiators, and facilitators of funerals or graveside/cremation ceremonies is limited to 50 persons in total.
The attendees, officiators, and facilitators of weddings, celebrations of marriage or traditional unions, ceremonies of rites of passage, and all other similar events or ceremonies are limited to 30 persons in total. All physical meetings or events including political and social gatherings have a cap of no more than 15 persons.
In view of the high morbidity and mortality rates among those who are above 50 years of age, those above 58 years of age are being given first priority in getting the AstraZeneca vaccines sourced from India. Frontline workers including medical staff, teachers and the police are receiving the jab ahead of other Kenyans.