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State targets gradual easing of movement bans as virus cases rise

Patrick Amoth
Director-General for Health Patrick Amoth. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Restrictions on movement will continue in targeted regions until the country is able to flatten the coronavirus curve, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said on Thursday, while announcing 21 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the national total to 758.

Director-General for Health Patrick Amoth said the cessation of movement orders will only be stopped where there is sufficient data to warrant doing so.

Dr Amoth told a media briefing in Nairobi that the removal of the limitations would be gradual to prevent infection spikes.

The government in April put restrictions on movement in and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale and Mandera counties after they were found to be high risk areas. This month later, it imposed a lockdown in Nairobi’s Eastleigh and Mombasa’s Old Town areas following a rise in reported cases.

“The lifting of the restrictions we have will be gradual and based on science and information we get from the colleagues in modelling. Our appeal to the people is to continue with the recommended measures like washing hands using the sanitiser and use of the masks,” said Dr Amoth.

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He cited the World Health Organisation’s warning that the virus “is here to stay”, making it critical for people to continue observing the recommended containment measures to stop new infections.

“The virus is likely to be endemic going forward, and we will have to adapt our lives with the virus in consideration...However, if we can flatten our curve then there is no reason whatsoever to continue with the restriction of movement,” Dr Amoth said.

Mombasa accounted for 12 of the new coronavirus cases announced on Thursday, Nairobi and Kajiado had four cases each and Uasin Gishu one. The cases from Kajiado were all truck drivers.

Three more people recovered while two died, bringing the total discharges and fatalities to 284 and 42 respectively.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said that the country’s porous borders continued to pose a great risk.

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