Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday extended the ongoing curfew in the country for the next 30 days to curb the spread of COVID-19, reported Reuters. He also announced a ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants but denied the chances of locking down the country again despite a rapid surge in the number of cases.
Kenya has reported 17,975 confirmed coronavirus cases so far and 285 deaths from the related disease COVID-19. On Sunday, the Kenyan health ministry reported 960 more cases, the biggest daily jump since the first case was confirmed in March.
“The harsh reality my friends is that we are at war,” Kenyatta said in a televised address, adding, “At war with an invisible enemy who is relentless.”
The president said restaurant operating times have also been shortened by an hour and ordered bars to stay closed indefinitely. The decision to ban alcohol sale was taken as a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus after reports emerged that people were visiting bars past curfew hours.
“We cannot have a policeman at every street and in every village to enforce the rules. We need, as citizens, to hold ourselves and one another accountable,” he said.
Kenyatta said the health ministry has been authorized to convert government buildings such as schools and sports facilities into quarantine and isolation centers if needed. He asked police to enforce the curfew rule regardless of who they found breaking it, without mentioning any name.
“All the measures … shall be applied to all citizens regardless of their social or political standing,” Kenyatta said.
The president, however, warned should the situation deteriorate and pose a challenge the health infrastructure, it shall be ‘clawed back’.
The outbreak has hit Kenya’s economy, with the finance ministry projecting growth will slow to 2.5% this year from 5.4% last year.