Kenya: Rules on Gatherings Now Tightened Again

Interfaith Council on the National Response to Coronavirus Pandemic member Joseph Mutiso addresses the media at Ufugamano House in Nairobi on November 26.
27 November 2020

A reduction in the number of people allowed to attend burials and weddings as well as tighter restrictions in places of worship are the latest checks on the spread of coronavirus.

The total number of people attending burials has been limited to 100 and much fewer, 50, will attend weddings, in new measures announced yesterday by the Interfaith Council for Covid-19 response.

The maximum number of persons attending funerals and weddings had been reviewed upwards from 100 to 200 in the last address in September by President Uhuru Kenyatta on the advice of the religious leaders.

During burials only 15 people will be allowed at the graveside. The burial will take less than an hour, with no food served.

For weddings, only the nuclear family will be served food. This measures are in addition to observing the stipulated Health ministry guidelines.

Covid-19 guidelines

Yesterday, the Council released the new Covid-19 guidelines for worshippers ahead of the second phased reopening today.

For in-person worshipping, only those aged over six years and less than 65 will be allowed for the services that will not last beyond 90 minutes.

They will be required to wear their masks correctly, wash hands before service, and observe1.5 metres social distancing.

The space available will determine the number of congregants in a church, mosque or any other religious centres. And once worshipping is over, no other meetings will be held.

"We beseech all religious leaders for their cooperation and collaboration in implementing these guidelines as this not only protects the people attending, but also the vulnerable people our congregants get in contact with after worship," said Ms Connie Kivuti, the Council's vice chairperson.

Stricter guidelines

The Council's chairperson, Archbishop Anthony Muheria, on November 17, announced he had contracted Covid-19 and that he was being treated at Mater Hospital.

"I am still on oxygen as they continue treating me... Please be ambassadors of compliance in your homes and meetings," he said.

The move to impose stricter guidelines, explained Ms Kivuti, was prompted by the number of new cases, the number of daily deaths and other indications like the positivity rate.

Accompanied by Reverend Father Mutie Joseph, Bishop Samuel Thiong'o and Sujata Kotaramju, the representatives worried that the country appears to be los-ing focus of the importance of combating the pandemic.

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