Kenya: Hopes High of Rebound to Normal in Kenyatta Address

28 September 2020

President Kenyatta will address the nation today after chairing a virtual conference on Covid-19 amid high hopes that he will reopen the economy.

The day-long meeting will climax in a state-of-the-nation address, where the President is expected to outline the government's decision following six months of economic paralysis caused by restrictions that were instituted to contain Covid-19.

Response to contagion

Last Monday, President Kenyatta gave the strongest indication yet, that he's likely to reopen the country, after directing the National Emergency Response on Coronavirus to review the national and county response to the contagion, and chart Kenya's "post-Covid future".

That same day, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua in a statement said the national Covid-19 conference will be followed by the 12th Presidential address on the coronavirus pandemic.

"The address by the Head of State will unveil the containment measures that shall guide Kenya into the new normal," Mr Kinyua said. Bars and nightclubs will be waiting keenly for President Kenyatta to announce measures touching on their reopening, having remained closed for over 30 days, after he amended regulations on August 26, imposing more stringent restrictions on the sale of alcoholic drinks.

It is also expected that the President will address the measures touching on public gatherings, prayers and worship, and weddings and funerals.

Restaurants

In August, the President amended the closing time for restaurants and eateries from 7pm to 8pm. He also allowed places of worship to begin a phased reopening in conformity with the guidelines developed by the Inter-Faith Council.

Schools reopening from today is also another indication that the country is going fully back to its pre-Covid-19 normal, as teachers are expected back in school ahead of the learners, who will have a phased return in October.

The timing of the curfew is also on the cards, as it has previously been adjusted from 7pm to now 9pm.

Expectations are that the curfew could be dropped, or adjusted further to allow for the night economy to thrive, and also workers who will now fully resume their duties get home on time.

Today's virtual meet will also allow governors to highlight some of the wins counties have made in the fight against Covid-19.

It will also allow them to outline a strategy for building and sustaining momentum regarding recovery, and showcase good practices, which have strengthened economic resilience and self-reliance.

Heath CS Mutahi Kagwe, Devolution Eugene Wamalwa and Education George Magoha will give CoG chairman Governor Wycliffe Oparanya the platform to enumerate some of the challenges his colleagues face in minimising the virus' spread in the counties.

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