Nairobi — The nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed in March to curb the spread of coronavirus will now commence at 11pm effective Tuesday having been varied from 9pm.
President Uhuru Kenyatta who addressed a national conference on COVID-19 at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) in Nairobi on Monday said the curfew will run for five hours, lapsing at 4am daily.
The curfew period will however remain in force for a further sixty days, President Kenyatta stated.
"The nationwide curfew enforced throughout the territory of the republic of Kenya is extended for a further 60 days," Kenyatta announced.
The Head of State also allowed the reopening of bars and other liquor stores on condition that they close by 10pm.
"You can now go and drink alcohol," the President teasingly said, while underlining the need for Kenyans observing the preventive measures issued by the government.
Bars and liquor stores were among sectors hardest hit by the restriction leading to wide-scale layoffs and invocation of unpaid leave.
President Kenyatta however urged for caution while stressing on the need to exercise personally responsibility particularly in adhering to safety protocols outlined by the health ministry.
"As I give these directives, I underscore the need to continue adhering to the health guidelines and protocols to avoid losing the gains that we have made so far. To also say again that I will not hesitate to escalate these measures if the cases rise again," Kenyatta warned.
The scaling down of containment protocols, the government said, was predicated on a continued decline of COVID-19 infections.
The Head of State noted that the country's positivity rate had declined to 4.4 per cent, below the World Health Organization threshold of 5 per cent.
Six months since the first case of the disease was reported in the country, coronavirus has claimed 700 lives and left 38,168 others infected.