Kagwe extends curfew, bans gatherings
The government has extended the dawn to dusk curfew by a month.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, while announcing the move on Monday, October 4, 2021, explained that the move will go a long way in curbing the spread of Covid-19.
“The containment measures including the curfew hours of 10 pm to 4 am will remain there and this is for two reasons… number one is that we are still as far as the positivity rate is concerned we are still above the WHO recommended figures in terms of two weeks’ period when you have got less than 5 percent of positivity rate at a high testing level,” Kagwe said.
He also announced that his Ministry will use the said period to vaccinate more people.
We hope to vaccinate more people during the period that we have announced. As we head for the Christmas holidays we need to ensure that as many people in this country have been vaccinated as possible.”
Kagwe has also maintained a blanket ban on all physical gatherings and meetings including political rallies and campaign meetings for the said period, even though politicians have consistently defied the ban.
The announcement comes on a day a health expert urged the government to lift the dusk to dawn curfew and train its focus on vaccinating people.
Amref Health Africa Global Chief Executive Dr. Githinji Gitahi made the suggestion via a discussion on his social media accounts.
18 months on, its time to move from RESPONSE to RECOVERY while watching when RESPONSE is still necessary until everyone is vaccinated. pic.twitter.com/FJxjXKaqKt
— Dr Githinji Gitahi, MBS (@daktari1) October 3, 2021
Dr. Githinji, who also is a member of the Commission/Taskforce on Africa’s COVID-19 Response, argues the curfew initially helped save lives at the beginning of the pandemic, but the government should now embrace a tactical, localized time-bound tool.
“Governments now need to move to the Recovery Phase focusing on Large Scale #COVID19 vaccination and building resilient health systems URGENTLY – #curfew should now move from a long-term strategy to a short term tactical localized time-bound tool during a surge of infections,”
He also noted that continuous observance of individual public health measures like mask-wearing in public, hand hygiene, and avoiding unnecessary physical interactions will still be important moving forward.
Other important pointers for the government, according to the Amref boss include the need to ensure adequate oxygen, health workers, funding, large-scale timely vaccination, and rigorous epidemiological data to determine whether short-term curfews are required as circuit breakers.