Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe, held a crisis meeting on Monday, November 29, to deliberate on the possibility of enforcing new Covid-19 restrictions ahead of the Christmas holiday.
Kagwe detailed that he summoned the National Emergency Response Committee (NERC) to analyse Kenya’s preparedness to handle the spread of the new Omicron virus variant tracked in South Africa.
According to the sentiments by the CS, Kenya may see the return of a nationwide curfew and lockdowns as citizens get ready for the festive season. The country also anticipates an influx in tourists’ numbers.
The CS was, however, coy on implementing the lockdown and enforcing other public health measures.
President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the nation in Kirinyaga on Mashujaa Day on Wednesday, October 20, 2021FILE
“I cannot tell before the NERC meeting,” Kagwe told the Business Daily on Monday, November 29.
He nonetheless, urged the country to wait for NERC’s deliberations, adding that the committee will hold a press conference on Tuesday, November 30, to announce the new measures.
On Friday, November 26, the acting Director General for Health, Patrick Amoth, announced that all passengers from South African countries must undergo quarantine after arriving in Kenya. The arrivals were also directed to undergo repeated testing on entry following the emergence of the South African variant.
“Our National Public Health Emergency Operation Centre is still fully activated to facilitate coordination of response to the pandemic. Stand-by trained Rapid Response Teams at both national, county and sub-county levels are on high alert for immediate investigative deployment,” Amoth stated.
Kenya is yet to join other countries such as Rwanda and the US in imposing travel restrictions for Southern Africa countries.
President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted the nationwide curfew and fully reopened the country on Wednesday, October 20, during the Mashujaa Day celebrations.
“With the authority vested in me as president, I hereby order that the nationwide curfew that has been in effect from March 27, 2020, is hereby vacated with immediate effect,” the President directed.
He also lifted night travels and thereafter, buses were allowed to carry passengers at full capacity. A spot check by Kenyans.co.ke indicated that long-distance buses were fully booked one month ahead of the Christmas festivities as Kenyans sought to travel up-country.