President Kenyatta lifts nationwide curfew

President Uhuru Kenyatta lifts nationwide curfew

President Uhuru Kenyatta has lifted the night curfew that has been in effect since March last year.

The curfew was initially imposed as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country. 

“I hereby order and direct the nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew to be vacated with immediate effect,” he said as crowds responded with cheer to the announcement.

Meanwhile, the number of persons gathering for worship has been reviewed from one-third to two-thirds of the premises. 

He was speaking on Wednesday during the 58th Mashujaa Day celebrations at the Wang'uru Stadium in Kirinyaga County.

He also noted that 5 million adults have been vaccinated so far against Covid-19. He said the surge of coronavirus infections had dropped but that the country isn't out of the woods yet.

"We must therefore continue to observe the containment measures as directed by the Ministry of Health as this is the only way to sustain the gains we are making and guarantee full reopening of the economy," he said.

Th President, however, was mum on whether lifting the curfew meant that bars could operate.

However, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala issued a clarification hours later saying the 7pm closure time that was imposed on bars and clubs has been lifted.

The President's move to life the curfew follows appeals from stakeholders in Kenya's business community as well as lobbying from churches to lift restrictions and allow more congregants to gather. 

Last week, bar owners and restaurants urged the government to allow them to operate for longer hours as Covid-19 cases had dropped. According to Ministry of Health data, as of Tuesday, the country recorded 33 new infections, with a positivity rate of 0.9 per cent.

“The curve is looking good and continues to bend downwards whereby at present the positivity rate is hovering at 7 per cent compared to percentage highs in the late teens and twenties during the peak of the current fourth wave driven by the Delta variant,” Dr Ahmed Kalebi, a consultant pathologist based in Nairobi, explained.

“Even Saudi Arabia has fully opened pilgrimage to full capacity. There is no reason why we can’t have sports and other social events opened up yet we have immunity from past infections and vaccines,” Dr Kalebi added.

Additional reporting by Kennedy Kimanthi and Mwangi Muiruri