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26 Mar 2020 | 02:51 AM UTC

Kenya: Overnight curfew to come into effect March 27 /update 8

President Uhuru Kenyatta orders nationwide overnight curfew from March 27 to prevent spread of COVID-19; flight suspensions and border closures in effect

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KEN

Event

On Wednesday, March 25, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a nationwide overnight curfew will come into effect on Friday, March 27, between the hours of 19:00 to 05:00 (local time) to prevent further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Only medical professionals and critical and essential service providers will be exempt from the curfew. Kenyatta also announced a series of tax breaks to assist residents affected by the outbreak. 

All international flights to and from Kenya were suspended at 23:59 on Wednesday. Only cargo flights will be allowed to operate but 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. Further border closures are possible over the coming days and weeks. All pubs were closed on Sunday, March 22, and citizens are being asked to stay indoors unless travel is essential.

As of March 25, 28 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is 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.