COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya
|Arrival date||13 March 2020|
(11 months, 3 weeks and 2 days)
|Origin||Wuhan, Hubei, China.|
|Confirmed cases||7,886 (as of 5 July)|
|Active cases||5,599 (as of 5 July)|
|Recovered||2,287 (as of 5 July)|
|160 (as of 5 July)|
Background[edit source | edit]
On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.
Timeline[edit source | edit]
March 2020[edit source | edit]
On 13 March, the first case in Kenya, a 27-year-old Kenyan woman who traveled from the US via London, was confirmed. The Kenyan government identified and isolated a number of people who had come into contact with the first case.
On 15 March, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mutahi Kagwe, announced that two people who had sat next to the initial patient on the aircraft in transit from the United States had also tested positive for the virus.
On 15 March 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that the following measures to curb COVID-19 be implemented:
- "Travel from any countries with any case of Corona virus be restricted.
- "Only Kenyan Citizens, and any foreigners with valid residence permits will be allowed to come into the country provided they proceed on self quarantine or to a government designated quarantine facility.
- "All schools and higher learning institutions be closed by Friday March 20, 2020.
- "Government and businesses people start working from home; except essential services.
- "Cashless transactions over cash. Cost of transactions reduced.
- "No congressional meetings – weddings, malls, night clubs, churches, limitation of visits to hospitals.
- "Hospitals and Shopping malls to give soap and water/hand sanitizers, and regular cleaning of facilities.
- "Cargo vessels, aircraft or ships can come into the country provided they are disinfected at point of departure and the crew quarantined on arrival.
- "UN Headquarters in Kenya continue operating diplomats travelling to the UN are also exempted from the travel restrictions but observe the self-quarantine rule.
- "A toll-free number (719) set up to report suspected coronavirus cases."
The Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe banned all social gatherings including religious gatherings on the same date. All flights were banned effective Wednesday 25 March by the Health CS.
On 16 March, the government through its spokesman Col Cyrus Oguna said on an update that there were another three people who were suspected to be carriers of the virus and that their results were to be released soon.
On 17 March, it was announced by the Health Secretary that a fourth case had been diagnosed. On 18 March, three more cases confirmed were by the Health Secretary, bringing the total confirmed cases in Kenya to seven.
On 22 March, eight more cases were confirmed by the Health Secretary, bringing the total cases confirmed to 15. The government confirmed it was tracing 363 people who are believed to have had contact with the eight new cases.
On 23 March, another case was confirmed bringing the total confirmed cases to 16.
On 24 March, nine more cases reported for a total of 25 nationally.
On 26 March, three more cases were recorded and bringing the total confirmed cases to 31. In addition to Nairobi, the government confirmed that corona virus cases in Kenya are spread among four other counties, namely Kajiado, Mombasa, Kilifi, and Kwale. On the same date, the first death of a person infected with the corona virus was reported in Kenya. The patient was a 66-year-old Kenyan man who had recently returned from a business trip in Eswatini and had transited via O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is unknown where exactly he contracted the virus.
On March 28, the ministry of health confirmed 7 more cases, bringing a total tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kenya to 38. On the same day, the government announced that 2 patients who had earlier tested positive had tested negative and were awaiting for a second test to confirm they had fully recovered.
On 29 March, four more cases were recorded bringing the total confirmed cases to 42.During a briefing on Sunday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said of the four, one is a Kenyan, one American, one Cameroonian and one a Burkinabé. Mr Kagwe said three of the cases were based in Nairobi and one in Mombasa. The CS said of the 42 cases, 24 are male while 18 are females. Nairobi leads with 31 cases followed by Kilifi (six), Mombasa (Three) and Kwale and Kajiado one each.
On 30 March, Kenya's coronavirus cases have risen by 8, with the total now standing at 50 that have been confirmed, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Monday said that of the eight confirmed cases, six were based in Nairobi, one in Kitui and one in Mombasa.
On 31 March, Kenya's coronavirus cases rose by 9, bringing the total to 59 confirmed cases to date.
April 2020[edit source | edit]
On April 1, Kenya's coronavirus cases rose by 22, bringing the total to 81 confirmed cases to date. Additionally, the Kenyan government confirmed that the first and third reported cases had both full recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries nationally to three.
On April 2, an additional 29 cases were confirmed bringing the total number of cases to 110 nationally. The government reported one more recovered patient increasing the total recoveries to four. Additionally, two more deaths were confirmed, one from Nairobi and the one in Mombasa, bringing the total number of deaths due to coronavirus to three.
On April 4 4 more cases were recorded out of a total sample of 325 cases.
On April 6 president Uhuru Kenyatta announced a cessation of movement in and out of The Nairobi Metropolitan Area for a containment period of 21 days, other counties affected by the cessation are; Mombasa and Kilifi and Kwale county that would take effect as from 8 April 
On April 7, CS Mutahi Kagwe announced 14 more cases bringing the total to 172 people. — with the virus. The numbers keep rising and rising. He also announced that 4 more people recovered from the virus bringing the total recoveries to 7.
On 8 April, the number of people with corona virus increased by 14 confirmed cases as announced by the Health Secretary, bringing the total number to 179.
On 9 April, the health cabinet secretary announced an increase in number of confirmed cases by 5 bringing the total number of people with the Novel Coronavirus to 184. He also announced an increase in number of deaths to 7.
On 10 April, 5 more cases of people who tested positive for the Coronavirus were confirmed as announced by the health secretary, bringing the total number of the confirmed cases to 189, it was also announced that 10 patients who had tested positive for Coronavirus have tested negative and are awaiting to be discharged from Mbangathi hospital, bringing the recovery cases to 22.
On 13 April, the total number of cases was announced to have reached 208, with a total of 9 deaths and 40 discharged-and-recovered.
On 15 April, the total number of cases was announced to have reached 225, with a total of 10 deaths and 53 discharged-and-recovered.
As of April 15, 2019, the Kenyan Ministry of Health reported 9 new cases increasing the total number of cases to 225, 12 new recoveries thus increasing the number of total recoveries to 53. The Ministry also reported 1 new fatality, increasing the total number of fatalities to 10.
2366 people had been tested as of April 15, 2020, 1911 people had been released after testing negative and 455 people were still subject to follow up according to statistics provided by the Kenyan Ministry of Health.
June 2020[edit source | edit]
On June 5, The Ministry of Health announced 134 new cases bringing the total number of cases to 2,474 people. The total number of recoveries was 643 and total number of deaths was 79. Samples tested since the pandemic started was 90, 875 
On June 6, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that the Nationwide dusk to dawn curfew will be extended for a further 30 days but will now run from 9 pm to 4 am. (Previously was 7pm to 5am).
The Cessation of Movement into and out of Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Mombasa County and Mandera County was on June 6, extended for a further 30 days. While the cessation of movement in and out of Eastleigh area in Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Old Town area in Mombasa County, Kilifi County and Kwale County will be lifted as from 4 am Sunday June 7, 2020.
The President also announced on 6 June, that schools will 'gradually' open from September 1.
On June 15, 2020, the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mutahi Kagwe, impressed on the need for eating food that boosts immune system as an avenue for beating the coronavirus pandemic. He also underscored the integral role that community policing plays in combating COVID-19. Nyandarua County, where he was releasing the daily updates, happens to be one of the counties that have not registered any coronavirus case.
July 2020[edit source | edit]
On July 6, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the following:-
- The Cessation of Movement into and out of Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Mombasa County and Mandera County shall be lifted as from Tuesday July 7 at 4 am.
- Nationwide 9 pm to 4 am curfew extended for a further 30 days.
- Ban on social gatherings and suspension on operation of bars extended for a further 30 days.
- Places of worship will also commence phased reopening in strict conformity with all applicable guidelines. However, he noted that no congregants under 13 or over 58 years should be allowed. Those with underlying health conditions have also been cautioned against congregating to worship. 
- Local air travel shall resume as from July 15 under Ministry of Health and Transport guidelines.
- International flights to resume as from August 1.
Government response[edit source | edit]
In response to the rise of coronavirus cases in Kenya to three, on 15 March the government of Kenya closed all schools and directed that all public and private sector workers work from home, wherever possible. Travel restrictions were later imposed to prevent non-residents from entry. Kenyan nationals and residents were required to self-quarantine for a minimum of fourteen days.
On 22 March, following the confirmation of an additional eight cases, bringing the total to 16 nationally, the Kenyan government introduced additional measures and directives to reduce the spread of coronavirus in the country. These measures included a suspension of all international flights effective at midnight on 25 March, with the exception of cargo flights (all persons entering the country will be compelled to undergo quarantine at a government facility). The government further stipulated that any persons, including senior government officials, found to be in violation of quarantine measures would be forcefully quarantined at their own expense. All bars were to remain closed from 22 March, with restaurants allowed to remain open for takeaway services only. All public service vehicles (i.e., matatus and buses) had to adhere to passenger-distancing guidelines previously stipulated on 20 March. Further, all public gatherings at churches, mosques, funerals and elsewhere were restricted to no more than 15 people, and weddings were banned.
In May 2020, Kenyan authorities dislodged 8000 people from 2 informal settlements, compelling them to live on streets for weeks. This increased the possible risk of spreading coronavirus among them. The people were also vulnerable of being arrested for breaking curfews.
Economic response[edit source | edit]
On 25 March, President Uhuru Kenyatta, following the reporting of an additional three cases, announced a nation-wide curfew on unauthorized movement from 7pm to 5am beginning on Friday, 27 March. The government also unveiled measures to buffer Kenyans against financial hardships arising movement restrictions associated with the coronavirus crisis, including:
- 100% tax relief to Kenyans earning KSh 24,000 (US$228) and below.
- Pay as you earn (PAYE) reduction from a maximum of 30% to 25%.
- Reduction of turnover tax rate from 3% to 1% for all micro, small and medium enterprises.
- Reduction of resident income tax to 25%.
- Making available KSh 10 billion (US$95 million) to vulnerable groups including the elderly and orphans, among others.
- Temporary suspension of the listing of loan defaulters for of any person, micro, small and medium enterprise and corporate entities whose loan account is in arrears effective 1 April 2020.
- Reduction of VAT from 16% to 14% effective 1 April 2020.
The government also moved to increase the allocation of funds for health care, along with other fiscal adjustments to the economy:
- KSh 1 billion (US$9.5 million) from the Universal Health Coverage kitty to be channelled to the employment of new health workers to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
- The President and Deputy President to take 80% pay-cut, all Cabinet Secretaries to take 30% pay-cuts, Chief Administrative Secretaries (30%) and Principal Secretaries (20%).
- All State and public officers aged 50 and above; and have preexisting medical conditions, to take leave from work, or be allowed to work from home. This directive excludes those public officers working in the security department.
- Central Bank of Kenya to lower the Central Bank Rate from 8.25% to 7.25%.
- Reduce the Cash Reserve Ratio from 5.25% to 4.25% to increase liquidity of KSh 35 billion to commercial banks, which, in turn, will be in positions to provide loan services to “distressed Kenyans”.
Nationwide curfew and police response[edit source | edit]
The 7pm – 5am curfew announced on 25 March was accompanied by reports of police brutality. First-hand accounts and video footage in several cities, including Nairobi and Mombasa, indicated that police used beatings and tear gas on 27 March. Some accounts indicate that detention resulted in crowding of people into small areas, contrary to the curfew's goal of increasing social distancing. Kenyan officials and government outlets later condemned police behaviour.
Subsequently, a petition was filed by Law Society of Kenya claiming that the curfew itself was unconstitutional, "because it is blanket and indefinite, and because it is ultra vires [it contravenes] the Public Order Act" and that the curfew posed a threat to the health of the general population. The petition further asserted that, "police recklessly horded large crowds on the ground, contrary to WHO advice on social distancing. Moreover, the first respondent (police) stopped the media from monitoring their movement and assaulted journalists covering the process".
On March 30, the High Court of Kenya upheld the curfew itself, but barred police from using excessive force to enforce the curfew and demanded the police provide guidelines for observing the curfew.
On 31 March, a 13-year-old boy was shot dead, allegedly by police, on the balcony of his home in Kiamaiko, Nairobi, 20 minutes after the curfew had started. On 25 April additional 21 days were added as curfew with focus still in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and across the country.
Impact[edit source | edit]
The travel restrictions reduced Kenya's hotel, tourism and flower industries. In contrast to citizens in industrialized countries, some Kenyans have the ability to switch from their city jobs to rural labour for food.
See also[edit source | edit]
References[edit source | edit]
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