COVID-19: Excitement in Kenya as Uhuru re-opens bars

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Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta announced changes in measures to curb COVID-19; Courtesy Photo

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday made several key changes to the country’s measures against the Covid-19 pandemic, extending the nationwide curfew by 60 days and relaxing limitations on numbers of people attending public functions.

In a nation address delivered today, the President changed curfew time to 11pm-4am effective Tuesday but also lifted the ban on the sale of alcohol by bars and restaurants, much to the delight of members of the public who had long expressed their wishes especially on social media.

The directive takes effect Tuesday, he said, but noted that the establishments must be closed by 10pm.

The President further raised the maximum number of guests at funerals and weddings from 100 to 200 and said churches can host up to a third of their capacities.

He however stressed the need for personal responsibility if the country is to win a fight that has lasted about six months now.

The Ministry of Health earlier relaxed burial protocols for people who died of Covid-19 in line with revised World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Public health officials handling the bodies will no longer be required to wear full white hazmat suits.

Regarding the schools reopening date, President Kenyatta did not announce a date but noted the need to ensure proper safety precautions are taken.

As such, he said Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha will announce the calendar once an agreement on safety measures is reached following discussions by all stakeholders.

“Learning institutions should only be reopened when we have and can sufficiently guarantee the safety of all our children. Let us not focus on when schools will reopen but on how they will reopen,” he said.

It is now unclear when students will return to school even as some neighboring countries continue to resume learning, based on their caseloads. Among them are Tanzania, Zambia and South Sudan.

As of Monday, Kenya had recorded 38,168 declared cases, including 24,691 recoveries and 700 deaths, according to a statement by Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe said in a statement.

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