Uhuru Kenyatta has signalled the end of curfews and lockdowns imposed in the nation and several hotspots, announcing that he would soon ‘reopen the economy’.
The head of state acknowledged that the virus would stay for long and that life would soon be back to normal as he would emulate other nations which have eased lockdown, such as Rwanda and Uganda.
“Time has come and I have directed our Cabinet Secretaries and health officers to start explaining to Kenyans that we cannot continue with lockdowns and curfews. It will come to a point when we shall open the country.
“However, managing the crisis would depend on us. This disease will continue spreading if we do not follow measures stipulated. But if we do, we shall overcome and triumph,” Kenyatta proclaimed.
The head of state further announced that Kenyans would be allowed to resume work, but urged everyone to ensure that their neighbours, colleagues, friends and families were protected.
“You have the mandate to protect yourself and others. When we start opening our economy, you should adhere to measures we have set out to protect yourself and others,” Kenyatta stated while issuing his eight-point economic stimulus.
On Saturday, May 16, Kenyatta extended the nationwide curfew for the second time. With 21 days added, the curfew will end on June 6.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe later on extended the total lockdowns in Old Town, Mombasa and Eastleigh, Nairobi to June 6.
Speaking with a local news site on May 16, a number of analysts differed on Kenyatta’s lockdown and curfew plans.
“If Covid-19 becomes an endemic like Malaria, we should ask ourselves if we have enough mosquito nets. Kenya is not prepared to handle Covid-19 and lessening measures such as curfews won’t work as we do not have enough hospitals that Kenyans will go to for admission and treatment,” Mark Bichache stated.
“My disappointment is that we have lockdowns without accountabilities. Kenyans are losing hope. I was expecting the Uhuru to have an advanced model to project. He is still treating Covid-19 as an emergency yet WHO said it may stay,” Nafula Kisiang’ani, a development practitioner differed with Bichache.
Financial analyst, Nicholas Gachara went on to warn that Kenya’s economy would further shrink if Kenyatta keeps on imposing lockdown and closing the border.
“In 30 days, the economy will be affected. Tanzania is known for retaliation and will impose stringent measures against Kenya (which they did, but lessened after Kenyatta and Tanzania President Pombe Magufuli called truce). For Somalia, we export charcoal to them and import some goods from them. I believe we shall be affected on some fronts,” Gachara, based at Tax and Accounting Nairobi opined.
Kenyatta’s first move towards reopening the country was allowing restaurants to open in April 2020.
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