Kenya announces phased re-opening of the country from coronavirus lockdown

AYENAT MERSIE and OMAR MOHAMMED

KENYA’S President Uhuru Kenyatta today announced a phased re-opening of the country from a lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, lifting restrictions in and out of the capital Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa.

“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 4 a.m. (0100 GMT) tomorrow, Tuesday the 7th of July 2020,” said Kenyatta in a televised address.

Kenyatta extended the current nationwide nightly curfew between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. for a further 30 days.

He said that international commercial travel would resume from Aug. 1, while domestic flights are scheduled to restart on July 15.

But Kenyatta 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,” he said.

Kenya has confirmed nearly than 7,900 cases of the coronavirus as of July 6, with 160 deaths. 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. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.