President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday announced new measures for containing the spread of the coronavirus in Kenya, starting with a ban on all political gatherings for 30 days effective midnight.
While noting an increase in the positivity rate in Kenya over the last few weeks, amid what is believed to be a third wave of infections, President Kenyatta said such functions, alongside other public and social gatherings, are significant contributors to the spread of the deadly virus.
"I direct national government administration officers and the National Police Service and county government enforcement officers to strictly enforce this order regardless of the social and political standing of the conveners, of these political [and social] gatherings]" he said, adding further actions will depend on the results.
Mr Kenyatta, in his first national address on the pandemic in Kenya in 2021, also extended the nationwide curfew by 60 days and said that all bars, restaurants and other such locations shall be closed by 9pm.The curfew will not affect essential service providers, factories, construction workers and those working in shifts.
He further announced that the funerals, cremations and other such rites shall be performed within 72 hours, and that attendance shall be limited to 100 immediate family members.
In the same breath, he said the number of attendees at weddings and other traditional unions shall also be capped at 100.
Regarding places of worship, the government said all places of worship will have a maximum of a third of their capacities per gathering.
President Kenyatta also urged the public to adhere to the guidelines the Health ministry has emphasised since the outbreak of the virus, including regular washing of hands, social distancing and wearing face masks.
With regard to public transport, he asked the Health and Transport ministries to work with all stakeholders in revising protocols to ensure the general public is protected.
The President also spoke about vaccination, which was rolled out in Kenya about a week ago. He noted that the country's medical experts are persuaded that it is safe following tests . He urged the public to take the jab but noted that this is voluntary.