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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,3RD,JAN,2021-Kenya has extended the night curfew and several other COVID-19 measures in efforts to tame the spread of the virus as schools re-open since closure in March last year.
The announcement was made by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, who cited an Executive Order issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“The President has issued an Executive Order extending some of the containment measures to ensure that the eco-system within which our children are going to school remains manageable,” he said, “so the President has extended the curfew days and several containment measures.”
In the Executive Order, President Kenyatta said the measures will remain in force until March 12.
“Whereas our national positivity rate continues to decline, the Coronavirus pandemic remains a threat to our health and to our livelihoods,” President Kenyatta said in the Executive Order that warned of the possibility of a spike in the COVID-19 cases unless measures are taken.
The measures extended Sunday include the closure of bars by 9 pm as directed by the President on November 4 when he revised the night curfew to start at 10 pm to 4 am.
The president said that “whereas the general directions governing religious gatherings shall remain unchanged, any indoor religious gathering other than for the purpose of a wedding or funeral, shall be conducted in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Inter-Faith Council and with all other applicable Ministry of Health guidelines and protocols remaining
The Head of State also banned all forms of political gatherings, roadside rallies and meetings for 60 days with the exception of funerals and weddings which must be conducted with prior approval of authorities, with limitation to only 150 people.
In November 2020, the president also ordered civil servants aged above 50 years and anyone with compromised immunity to work from home, a directive reinforced on Sunday when he ordered teachers above 58 years of age or those with pre-existing conditions to teach online or on open spaces.
“The schools shall ensure that they have adequate hand-washing stations corresponding to their student populations,” he said.
And as schools re-open, President Kenyatta said there shall be no extra-curricular activities for 90 days such as sports, drama, music and prize giving days, involving more than one school.
President Kenyatta directed all government meetings to be held virtually so as to protect public servants and members of the public visiting their offices.
Kenya recorded 64 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, marking a sustained decline as schools prepared to reopen fully for physical learning.
Kenya reopened schools partially in October 2020 for Form 4, Class 8 candidates and Grade 4 following closure in March 2020 when the first case was detected.
On Sunday, the government announced 125 new COVID-19 cases that raised the caseload in the country to 96,803 since March with 1,685 deaths so far.
Schools in the country were set to reopen fully on Monday, under strict COVID-19 guidelines.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said learners must have marks at all times, but warned schools against forcing them to have sanitisers.
“The situation where teachers are asking students to bring large quantities of sanitisers shall not be allowed, because we don’t want to have a situation where you have too much sanitisers which will be used for other things,” Magoha said when he toured Kibera Secondary School during an inspection tour.