Kenya: Stop Asking for a Lockdown, Obey the Curfew First - CS Kagwe

Nairobi — The Government has asked Kenyans to tame their appetite for a lockdown over coronavirus, saying it would have serious implications to their way of living.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said Kenyans should instead respect the guidelines issued, including the curfew timelines, to avoid a full-blown break out of coronavirus in the country.

Already, Kenya has 38 cases, after a new confirmation of seven cases on Saturday.

"It is very interesting that people are asking for a lockdown, and they are unable to follow a curfew," the CS said Sunday, during his daily briefing on the status of the war against coronavirus.

For the disease not to spread further, the CS said, the solution is in how Kenyans "will behave" and not in curfews or the much sought after lockdown.

"What would a lockdown look like?" he wondered, "A lockdown is not a word that necessarily contemplates a situation that people are now safe. What contemplates such a situation is doing what the Government is saying."

A lockdown, he said, means, "that you do not leave your house at all. The measures that we are taken is to that we can ensure we do not get into a lockdown."

He said if Kenyans maintain social distance, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), there will be no need for such a drastic move.

"The one key success factor is change of behavior," the CS asserted, and warned, "the person next to you right now could positive, just keep distance."

Of the 38 cases of coronavirus, the CS said 28 are drawn from Nairobi- making it the worst-hit county in the country.

"All the seven new cases are in Nairobi County which has a total of 28 as of today," Kagwe told journalists during in his daily briefing from the Ministry of Health, "Kilifi has six cases, Mombasa 2, Kajiado and Kwale have 1 each."

Kagwe, said the seven positive cases were among 81 people who were tested in various laboratories countrywide.

"Three are female and the four and males. Out of the seven, four had a history of travel from counties with active transmission. One had traveled to Mombasa while two did not have a travel history but came from contacts," he said.

-No turning back on curfew-

The curfew that started on Friday has, however, sparked mixed reactions and condemnation after police resorted to whipping pedestrians and motorists found outside past 7pm.

Kagwe has warned that the trend of the rising cases was worrying, and urged Kenyans to strictly adhere to the regulations issued by the government, mainly social distancing and hygiene.

"If we want to avoid an outbreak, a change of behaviour is key. It is important for these rules to be followed if we want to avoid a total and a complete breakout," he said.

He said it was laughable that Kenyans were demanding for a total lockdown in the country yet the already imposed state curfew was not being followed as required.

"Lockdown as a word can be very meaningless. People should follow what is required for the curfew to work," he said.

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