Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday announced a phased reopening of the country from a COVID-19 lockdown, reported Reuters.
The government has decided to resume international flights as well as lifted restrictions on travel in and out of the capital Nairobi. The churches and other places of worship have also been reopened in the country, but only a maximum of 100 people will be allowed at each worship ceremony.
In a televised address, President Kenyatta said Kenya has probably reached a level of preparedness for a partial lifting of lockdown restrictions but urged caution and warned against reckless behavior.
“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.
The Kenyan president announced domestic commercial and passenger flights are scheduled to restart on July 15, while international travel will resume from Aug. 1.
Kenyatta said the current nationwide curfew has been extended between 9pm and 4am for a further 30 days. However, he warned that warned that the country could be locked down again if the situation gets worsen in the next few weeks.
“In the next 21 days we shall study patterns of interactions and the spread of the disease,” the Kenyan president said. “Any trends that signal a worsening of the pandemic, we will have no choice but to return to lockdown.”
He said the Kenyan government and all citizens will have to come together and cooperate to revive the country’s ailing economy after four long months of coronavirus restrictions.
Kenya has reported nearly 8,067 confirmed coronavirus cases, 2,414 recoveries and 164 deaths, the highest official figures of fatalities in East Africa.
The outbreak and the lockdown have shattered the country’s economy, with the finance ministry projecting growth to slow to 2.5 percent this year from 5.4 percent last year.