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Economy

Covid-19 cases pass 8,000 as the economy reopens

A bus stop in Nairobi
A bus stop in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya Monday passed the 8,000 mark after confirming 181 new Covid-19 cases even as the president Uhuru Kenyatta eased the restrictions put in place to stop the communal spread of the viral infection.

The new cases represent 8.4 percent of the 2,121 samples tested over the last 24 hours. They point to a growing number of infections. A month ago infection rate was at three to 3.5 percent of the samples tested.

Despite the growing numbers, Mr Kenyatta issued an order to re-open the economy conditionally. He scrapped the order on cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera counties and announced the resumption of air travel and church services. However, if the pandemic worsens, he said the country will be forced to return to a lock-down.

“By reopening Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera, we are more at risk than we were when the restrictions were in place. We must, therefore, exercise cautious optimism, and avoid reckless abandon. I believe that, although the path to recovery is rocky and uneven, it is navigable,” said Mr Kenyatta in his speech.

“In the next 21 days, we shall study patterns of interactions and the spread of the disease. Any trends that signal a worsening of the pandemic, we will have no choice but to return to the lock-down at zero-option.”

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Mr Kenyatta made a national call to civic responsibility and urged Kenyans to practice extreme precaution.

From Monday’s tally, Nairobi accounted for the most cases with 134, Kiambu 19, Mombasa nine, Machakos and Kajiado six each. Lamu recorded three cases while Murang’a had two and Uasin Gishu and Kirinyaga counties reported an incident each.

Some 127 persons were discharged while four succumbed to the virus bringing the total recoveries and deaths to 2,414 and 164, respectively.

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