Kenya Imposes Restrictions on Nairobi Area as Surge Builds

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Kenya imposed stringent new restrictions within the capital, Nairobi, and in 4 different counties, combating a lethal third wave of Covid-19 infections that has positioned its fragile well being system below devastating stress.

In a televised handle on Friday, President Uhuru Kenyatta stated {that a} tenfold improve in an infection charges since January, coupled with a 52 p.c improve in hospital admissions this month, referred to as for “drastic measures.”

“Kenya is now squarely within the grip of a 3rd wave of this pandemic,” he stated.

A number of variants have been recognized in Kenya, however some had been discovered amongst vacationers, and there may be little knowledge to counsel how prevalent they might be or what function they is likely to be enjoying within the East African nation’s surge. They embody B.1.1.7, the extra transmissible and probably extra deadly variant first recognized in Britain; B.1.351, a variant first present in South Africa that will bypass the safety afforded by present vaccines; and A.23.1, a variant that’s now dominant in Kenya’s neighbor Uganda and close by Rwanda.

As of midnight, Mr. Kenyatta stated, all gatherings are banned in Nairobi and 4 adjoining counties, which make up a single an infection zone. Journey is prohibited out and in of the restricted space, the place bars, eating places and locations of worship will shut, and a nightly 10 p.m. curfew strikes to eight p.m. Nonetheless, Nairobi’s worldwide airport will stay open.

In the remainder of Kenya, sporting actions are suspended, and faculties and universities will shut till additional discover.

The curbs got here per week earlier than the Easter vacation when many Kenyans pile into crowded buses to return to their household properties in rural areas.

A vaccination program that began in March raised hopes for an finish of the pandemic, which has devastated the nation’s tourism-dependent financial system. One small brilliant spot within the tourism downturn has been an inflow of rich Europeans hoping to trip out the pandemic in upmarket resorts alongside Kenya’s coast.

However the hovering charge of infections and deaths has compelled the nation right into a painful new lockdown, Mr. Kenyatta stated. As of Thursday, Kenya reported a complete of 126,170 instances and a pair of,092 deaths. The constructive take a look at charge hit 22 p.c this week, in contrast with 2 p.c in January, he stated.

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