President Uhuru Kenyatta has put five counties under partial lockdown effective midnight, as part of new Covid-19 containment measures necessitated by a lethal third wave of infections.
While invoking Public Order No. 2 of 2021, President Kenyatta on Friday directed cessation of movement by road, rail and air into and out of the counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru until further notice.
The five counties have individually accounted for the highest Covid-19 infections since his last address on March 12.
Mr Kenyatta declared them a disease infested area following a surge in infections.
The cessation of movement order, according to Mr Nzioka Waita, the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, limits movement into and out of the One Zoned Area that covers the counties.
“[But] you can move freely within the five counties,” Mr Waita explained via Twitter.
President Kenyatta issued several directives concerning in-person gatherings, starting with extending the 30-day prohibition against political meetings that he announced earlier in March “until otherwise directed”.
“There shall be no in-person meetings of any kind in the counties of Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu and Nakuru until further notice,” President Kenyatta directed.
He also suspended all in-person meetings of the Cabinet and its committees, with the exception of meetings of the National Security Council, until further notice.
The President also said, “With the concurrence of the parliamentary leadership of both Houses of Parliament, and with the concurrence of county leadership; the Ordinary Sessions of the August Houses including those of their committees, and the Ordinary Sessions of the county assemblies of Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu and Nakuru, are hereby suspended.”
He added, “In accordance with the Standing Orders of the National Assembly and the Senate, the two Speakers of Parliament will move to effect this decision as well as the Speakers of the respective county assemblies.
Mr Kenyatta issued the directives from State House in Nairobi, flanked by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior) and Mutahi Kagwe (Health), Head of Civil Service Joseph Kinyua and Government Spokesman Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna.
The suspension of the sittings of the National Assembly, the Senate and the assemblies of the affected counties shall be effected by their respective speakers.
The presidential order came after a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC), that the President chairs, and the Council of Governors (CoG).
The government also suspended in-person worship in the five counties until further notice, saying other parts of the country will continue to adhere to the requirement to host just one third of their capacities.
The government also halted in-person learning in all of the country’s institutions, including universities and technical and vocational training centres, the exception being candidates writing their national exams and medical trainees.
All permitted gatherings will have their attendance limited to 50 people with funerals conducted within 72 hours of confirmation of death. Weddings and other related events shall have not more than 30 people.
The 15th presidential address, since Covid-19 was first reported in the country on March 13, 2020, also saw the dusk to dawn curfew in the One Zone Area set for 8pm-4am. It will remain 10pm-4am in the other counties.