Kenya extends curfew as COVID-19 cases surge

A health worker fills a syringe with a dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine at the Mbagathi hospital vaccination centre in Nairobi. AFP/Simon Maina

NAIROBI - Kenya said it is extending a nighttime curfew and banning public gatherings to slow the spread of Covid-19, warning that hospitals were becoming overwhelmed.

The East African country has witnessed a surge in cases from the Delta variant, with a positivity rate of 14 percent as of Friday, a figure Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said was at risk of rising further unless serious measures were taken.

"Let us not drop the guard," Kagwe said at a televised press conference. "We are all responsible (for) bringing the cases down."

READ: UK offers Kenya 817,000 COVID vaccine doses

Kenya has been under some form of curfew since March last year when the pandemic first hit, and Kagwe said it will be extended nationwide from 10 pm to 4 am until further notice.

In total, Kenya has recorded more than 200,000 cases and 3,910 deaths while as of Thursday only 1.7 million vaccines have been administered in the country of 52 million people.  

Kagwe said hospitals were becoming overwhelmed due to the increased infections and urged the public to obey the health measures to stay safe.

"If you fall sick today, you will not get a hospital bed," Kagwe said. "I am not scaring you, I am telling you the reality."


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