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06 Apr 2020 | 09:48 AM UTC

Kenya: Vendors and riot police clash over mandatory COVID-19 business closures in Nyeri April 6 /update 11

Local vendors clash with riot police over mandatory coronavirus disease (COVID-19) closures in Nyeri (Nyeri county) on April 6; similar unrest possible over the near term as COVID-19 outbreak continues

health
security
KEN

Event

According to media sources on Monday, April 6, dozens of local vendors in Nyeri (Nyeri county) clashed with riot police over discontent with government-imposed, mandatory coronavirus disease (COVID-19) business closures. The clashes reportedly took place in the town center following Nyeri county administration officials' refusal to allow the vendors to reopen. Administration officials have said that more high-risk areas will be closed once an ongoing risk-assessment review is concluded and that a crackdown on illegally operating businesses will continue while restrictions are in effect. The measure has been implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Nyeri town and the surrounding county.

Only medical professionals and critical and essential service providers are exempt from the curfew restrictions. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has also announced a series of tax breaks to assist residents affected by the outbreak. Furthermore, all international flights to and from Kenya were suspended at 23:59 on Wednesday, March 25. Only cargo flights are being allowed to operate; however, the crew must follow strict regulations. The land border between Kenya and Uganda has also been closed to all pedestrians and vehicles, except for cargo trucks. All pubs were closed on Sunday, March 22, and citizens are being asked to stay indoors unless travel is essential. All individuals who entered Kenya from a country with reported COVID-19 cases since March 1 must self-quarantine for 14 days or until they have been free of symptoms for over 14 days from their time of entry.

As of April 6, 142 cases of COVID-19 and four associated fatalities have been confirmed in Kenya. Further international spread of COVID-19 is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.